A Critical and Comparative Analysis of Political Empowerment/Representation/ in Promoting Gender Equality in Gambella Regional State

Ojulu Okock, Melesse Asfaw


Despite the limited improvements made by very few countries, gender inequalities are on the increase in the developing countries, including Ethiopia. On the other hand, representation of women and inclusion of their perspectives and experiences into the decision-making processes can have social benefits, better and more appropriate social, political, legal, and economic solutions for their problems. Economic and social empowerment of women is greatly reliable on their integration into the political decision-making process through their involvement in the political and public offices. Women can enjoy their political and civil rights through political representation and/or participation in the public life, as ensuring women’s political participation can bring legitimacy to the government and, validity and trustworthiness of democracy and democratic process by the public and stakeholders. The purpose of this study is to assess the status of women’s political empowerment/ representation in the public and political decision-making positions in the Gambella regional state of Ethiopia so as to suggest appropriate policy options towards the achievement of effective gender equality in the region. The study showed that women had never been represented in the national legislative and executive branches of the Ethiopian federal government. Cumulatively, this research had found that the political empowerment, representation or participation of men and women in the legislative, executive, and judiciary as well as in the justice and political system was comparatively better and showed a progress in the descending order of the administrative levels and the reverse is true for men.  Though there had been a very remarkable and significant progress in the legislative representation of women in 4th election term of 2010, a “wider gender inequality” existed in the representation of women in the executive at all administrative levels in the Gambella regional state. The study had discovered a wider gender inequality in the representation of both men and women as the presiding higher officials in the parliament offices at all administrative levels in the region. However, the representation of women as speakers of the house, commonly as vice speakers, showed a promising representation at similar administrative levels regardless of the regional administrative level where women had been given no chance to be one of the speakers in the regional parliament. The study had also found that there had been a satisfactory representation of women in the parliamentary standing committees’ at all administrative levels. However, the representation lacks proportionality from within the standing committees. There had also been a bit wider gender inequality in the representation of women as the chairpersons of the various parliamentary standing committees’ at all administrative levels in the legislative branch of the government.   Although women had been given satisfactory political gender quota in the political party’s central and executive committees, their representation in the official positions of the political party at all administrative levels in the region was very insignificant. Finally, the study had shown the existence of a wider gender inequality in the judicial and justice systems in the region at all administrative levels.

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ISSN (Paper)2224-607X ISSN (Online)2225-0565

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