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Addis Powerhouse is “A lively platform for Ethiopian Feminists and women’s rights movements to rise above systems of oppression and co-author new feminist realities”: https://addispowerhouse.wordpress.com/ .

This platform has been around for about a year, and I just found out about it from an article on Deutsche Welle: https://www.dw.com/de/powerhouse-f%C3%BCr-powerfrauen-feminismus-auf-%C3%A4thiopische-art/a-57842024 .The article on DW is only in German and Amharic, so I’ll include a computer-generated translation in English in the comments.

Greetings to our sisters in Ethiopia!

Addis Powerhouse is “A lively platform for Ethiopian Feminists and women’s rights movements to rise above systems of oppression and co-author new feminist realities”: https://addispowerhouse.wordpress.com/ . This platform has been around for about a year, and I just found out about it from an article on Deutsche Welle: https://www.dw.com/de/powerhouse-f%C3%BCr-powerfrauen-feminismus-auf-%C3%A4thiopische-art/a-57842024 .The article on DW is only in German and Amharic, so I’ll include a computer-generated translation in English in the comments. Greetings to our sisters in Ethiopia!

2 comments

Article in German: https://www.dw.com/de/powerhouse-f%C3%BCr-powerfrauen-feminismus-auf-%C3%A4thiopische-art/a-57842024

Translation from DeepL:

Powerhouse for Power Women: Feminism the Ethiopian way

With topics such as abortion and prostitution, the digital magazine "Addis Powerhouse" aims to break taboos in Ethiopia. Current political issues concerning the upcoming parliamentary elections are also openly addressed.

"Addis" is short for the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. "At the same time, 'addis' means 'new' in the national language, Amharic," explains Hellina Hailu, one of the founders of "Addis Powerhouse." Indeed, the monthly digital magazine is something new in Ethiopia. According to Hannah Lemma, co-founder and editor, the magazine is intended to be a "powerhouse" where women can recharge their batteries.

Actually, Ethiopia is not in a bad position when it comes to women's rights, at least in the urban centers: Women are comparatively well represented, even in politics. Half of the East African country's cabinet is now made up of women. So why the issue of equality and women's rights? "The society in which I grew up made me do it," Hannah explains in the DW interview. Because even after the reforms initiated by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in 2018, Ethiopia remains a strongly patriarchally structured society - with narrowly defined gender roles. The two self-professed feminists know each other from a former company where they worked together. Hellina, 24, is an electrical engineer, still a rare female profession in the country of 110 million people. Hannah, also 24, studied development economics. "Then about 15 months ago, we started the magazine," Hellina recalls.

Language and Internet access

Four other young women back up the founding duo: a graphic designer, a website content manager, a social media manager and an artist. "Addis Powerhouse" is their pastime; in their main profession, all six women have other jobs. "Hannah and I are also active writers. Any person who wants to write about equality can send us topics via email or on Telegram," Hellina said.

For many women in the multiethnic state, meanwhile, language is still a barrier to reading. With the exception of one article in Amharic, all contributions are written in English. This is soon to change. "In the future, we plan to be more inclusive and focus more on Amharic content," Hannah says. "If we can, we also want to provide a platform for other languages."

Language, however, is not the only challenge when it comes to free expression in Ethiopia - on the streets or in the digital space. According to the (globally surveyed) "Digital 2021" report, just 20 percent of the Ethiopian population has Internet access. Only just under seven million people use social media. However, the trend is upward, and Ethiopia has just opened its telecommunications market to foreign providers. For the "Addis Powerhouse" team, this means hope for additional readers beyond its own borders.

Conservative and politicized

For the April issue of "Women in Politics," Hannah, Hellina and their colleagues conducted an online survey. According to the survey, two-thirds of the participants said they would not go to the polls in the upcoming elections at the end of June. They cited feeling "not adequately represented" and "not having received enough information" as reasons. "Our goal is to get people to discuss the election issue," Hellina stressed. In no way did they want to influence voting.

Also discussed at Addis Powerhouse are the widely reported rapes of women in Tigray. The Ethiopian government is accused of using sexual violence as a weapon of war in the conflict region in northern Ethiopia. In its May issue, the magazine now drew attention to the issue. "When you advocate for women, you inevitably have touches with politics," Hannah says. It's omnipresent in Ethiopia - and sometimes dangerous. But as long as the issue involves women, the "Power" women don't shy away from it. "We know that rape is a particularly difficult topic. That's why we only publish content about these incidents when we have trustworthy evidence," Hannah said. Following the numerous substantiated allegations, Ethiopia's attorney general's office has confirmed that soldiers and police officers were involved in rape cases in Tigray. In early June, the Prime Minister's Office said 25 suspected soldiers had been charged with rape and were facing a military court.

Religion - another hot potato in the religious melting pot of Ethiopia

The March issue of Addis Powerhouse was dedicated to the issue of femininity and religion. "When you talk about gender equality, the role of religion is usually not addressed," says Hannah. Religious traditions still dictate roles for women in society in Ethiopia. The activists want to change that. They want to give all religious groups the opportunity to exchange ideas with each other. They say there is a lot of need to talk about problems specific to women in order to stimulate change. "That's why, for example, we have exchanged ideas with editors from the journal "Women in Islam" about relevant topics," the editors explain. In an exemplary manner, the journal critically examines the contradictory ideas of Islam with regard to women's rights and equality.

"We have completely different concerns"

By contrast, a topic that preoccupies editors of feminist publications in Europe and the U.S. is not yet one in Ethiopia - and thus also at Addis Powerhouse: pay equity between men and women. "We don't even know how big the pay gap is. We have completely different concerns here," says Hellina. But even in value-conservative Ethiopia, there is movement: The editors say they have heard from feminists in the country that the pay gap issue will be called up during political debates in the upcoming elections. The "Addis Powerhouse" power plant continues to operate noisily.

[–] spinstah 1 points (+1|-0)

Such brave young women! Looks like they are already having success.