Date of Award

May 2018

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

African American Studies

Advisor(s)

Dr. Gwendolyn Pough

Keywords

Ethiopia, feminism, globalization, movement, Setaweet, solidarity

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Abstract

In Ethiopia, women’s organizing and mobilization is not new, however, outward claims of feminism and vocal allegiance to feminist ideals is a movement that has recently taken traction within the country. Despite following its own timeline, this resurgence in Ethiopia also takes place amongst the feminist movements found in the different nations on the continent. In Ethiopia, this contemporary iteration connects to broader discussions of the significant factors of migration, immigration, globalization, capitalism, modernity, and the new technological age. Subsequently, most of the scholarship pertaining to women’s socioeconomic issues takes the cultural or anthropological mode of exploration. More recently, scholars and feminists from Ethiopia and on the continent in general, have produced work that focuses more on the lived realities of women. With the goal of contributing to such production, this thesis thematically organizes and documents the current articulation of feminist thoughts and ideas in Ethiopia. For that purpose, I combine a literature review of African feminist theorists in order to situate the study, along with the qualitative data I garnered during my feminist ethnography fieldwork in the summer of 2017. This data is validated through the voices and experiences of seven contemporary Ethiopian women from semi-structured interviews I conducted during this ethnography. Further enriching the analysis, my own experiences are analyzed and integrated within this report. Documenting these voices and experiences validates women’s perspectives as necessary work for Ethiopian intellectual property. I argue that despite feminist action always being prevalent, the outward claim of feminist ideals that the women’s organization, Setaweet has implemented, provides a much-needed space for Ethiopian women to seek intellectual stimulation and debate, feminist training, support, and solidarity. Further, I propose that with the new technological age, women’s organizations such as Setaweet are able to have a platform with more reach than ever before. My articulation unpacks the different reasons why feminist movements are necessary in Ethiopia, what events have worked in the past, and what Ethiopian women themselves want to see for the future. This study aims to portray the possibility of solidarity within difference that can help better the lives of Ethiopian women as well as aid in the development of gender equality everywhere.

Key Words: Setaweet, Ethiopia, feminism, contemporary, solidarity, globalization, movement

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Open Access

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