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Ethiopia: In Quest of Women’s Leadership and Feminism


Indra Biseswar

5,0 / 5 (1 reviews )
25 ,50
Gratis verzending in Nederland en België
Twee tot vijf werkdagen
(Nederland en België)


In this book the author travels back in Ethiopian history exploring the specific leadership roles of women from the nobility and among the educated. The author aims to find answers on the prevalence of women’s movement and feminism in the country and critically analyses the agency of women. She asserts that women’s leadership is not a given nor can it be purchased or owned.  She is also firm in that being a woman doesn’t make one a feminist. With a focus on women’s emancipation, the author claims that it is only women themselves who, with their existing epistemic advantage, can transform their situation and change their status.

Over de auteur

"Born in Surinam, I was driven to do something on women’s rights. This was mainly because of my own personal experiences. I refused to slavishly continue my life as outlined for generations in our family. After my studies at the Erasmus University and the Institute of Social Studies in the Netherlands, my work provided ample opportunities for this. I organized gender debates, wrote and published papers, lectured in gender studies and now I bring this book to my readers."


9789402208108 / 978-94-022-0810-8

16 x 24 cm


There were numerous prominent elite women on the political scene in Ethiopia vying for control and power in historical times. Many of these women were privileged due to their status as wives or mothers of powerful men. Some became rulers either through direct placement by men, or through indirect linkages of being married to a ruler, or as regents (see Seltene 1994). There were also women who became famous in their roles as warriors such as Queen Yodit (Teshale 1995, p. 15; Minale 2001, p. 8) and Bati Dil Wenbera (Minale 2001, p. 10).
Queen Yodit (Judith) was the daughter of the leader of the Falasha. Yodit is said to have ruled for 40 years (Teshale 1995, p. 15). She was a strong woman who brought utter destruction to the Aksumite kingdom (Minale 2001, p. 8). Even though Christian writers deliberately try to omit this daring female ruler from history, and labelled her as a rebel and evil against Christianity, the saga she caused could not be ignored for it almost destroyed Christianity in Ethiopia.
Bati Dil Wenbera was another famous woman. Upon the death of her husband, the Muslim leader Imam Ahmed Ibn Ibrahim Al Ghazi or "Gragn Muhammad" (the left-handed) in 1516, who is also said to have almost destroyed Christianity in Ethiopia, she took over his army. Christianity was saved with the help of Portugal, but Dil Wenbera continued the struggle against the Christian campaigns of the then ruler Gelawdeos. Gelawdeos (1540-1559) ruled together with the queen mother, Seble Wengel (Belai 1992, p. 143). These two women made history by braving each other and fighting for their own cause (Minale 2001, p. 10). A well-known example of female rule came from Emperor Zara Yacob (1434 - 1468) who appointed his son-in-law as his principal courtier. But, believing him to be disloyal, he placed the government of almost the entire country in the hands of his daughters and other female relatives.


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door Saskia Kloezeman op 23-04-2015
A very strong analysis of different patterns that have been interwoven within culture. Also there are leads within this work to start changing behaviors and improving the situation of Ethiopian women.