The Ethiopian Women Scholars Support programme was initiated in January 2019 as a partnership between Setaweet, an Ethiopian feminist movement, and the Global Research Network on Parliaments and People (GRNPP) based at SOAS University of London. The Ethiopian Women Scholars’ Support programme aims to support the scholarship of Ethiopian women academicians by providing essential academic and technical support, and by awarding research grants to highly talented women researchers across the country.

Loza Tsegaye, who is managing the project on behalf of Setaweet, has worked tirelessly with various universities across Ethiopia and with the National Women Academicians’ Network to introduce the aims of the project, and encourage research proposal submissions by Ethiopia’s women researchers. We received fifteen proposals, on topics ranging from women’s political leadership, the role of policy-makers in addressing child marriage, and the gendered effects of displacement. Following careful review, we were delighted to award a Small Grant funding to five research teams, and a Medium Grant to a further team that is studying the historical and contemporary resistance of Ethiopian women to political exclusion.

It is high time for Ethiopian academia to reflect the fact that 51% of the Ethiopian population is female. Ethiopian women make up only 10% of all tertiary-level educators and only 8% of PhD students at all 45 universities are women, and Addis Ababa University, in its fifty-plus year history as one of the pioneer universities in Africa has given only five professorships to women. Ethiopian women are under-represented in both teaching and research, and there is very little published content on any subject by Ethiopian women scholars. However, there is recent hope sowed by Ethiopian women academicians such as Dr. Elizabeth W Giorgis who teaches art history at Addis Ababa University, and whose book on Modernist Art in Ethiopia was recently published by Ohio University Press.

Setaweet as a young and vibrant Ethiopian feminist movement believes in academic-activism as an avenue for change on gender equality. Building on its work with GRNPP to support women researchers through the Grant scheme, they are also organising and hosting the first all-women conference in Ethiopia in November 2019. With support from GRNPP, they are also launching the only Ethiopian feminist journal.

Setaweet are a critical partner in the project of amplifying women researchers’ voices in Ethiopia. Follow their extraordinary work on their website and their Twitter account @Setaweet1.