Legal Pluralism and Ethiopia’s Legal Framework: Challenges to Gender Equality and the Rights of Women
Effective operation of Ethiopia’s legal system is indispensable to achieving women’s empowerment and to addressing human rights issues such as early marriage, human trafficking, female genital mutilation and land rights. The basic legal framework for upholding women’s rights is provided in the federal Constitution and the federal statutory framework through the Family Law Code, the Criminal Code, and other statutes, proclamations, and legislation, all of which have the force of law. Most of the formal legal framework represents international standards as a framework for achieving gender equality and women’s economic empowerment. The challenge lies in implementing this framework.
This report identifies numerous challenges that persist in achieving gender equality in Ethiopia. The past two decades of international and government programs demonstrate the difficulty of effectuating change against a backdrop of legal roadblocks, entrenched social practices, and local authority structures that continually reproduce systemic gender inequality. This report explores the landscape of continuing efforts for reform in the face of systemic obstacles within Ethiopia’s legal framework and makes recommendations on the kinds of systemic changes that are likely to be necessary to achieve the Ethiopian government’s goals on gender equality and women’s economic empowerment.