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Ethiopian women working in construction
A while ago, I read a story about an Ethiopian woman who managed to get a job into the construction industry, a reflection of the construction boom in the country and also how the female role is slowly changing.
Ethiopian women moving into non traditional occupations are a positive change but also carry real risks if there are no protections in place.

The positive change is that these young women can for the first time have access to a steady job that doesn’t imply housekeeping. They can enter the regular workforce and save their money to study or to do as they please without social pressure to marry and start bearing children at a young age. They are seeing a whole world of opportunities ahead that weren’t possible before.

But on the negative side, certain jobs can be really physically challenging for women in general and more to small women like Mekedes Getachew, who’s lifting heavy loads as part of her job. It’s not that women haven’t been doing heavy lifting in Ethiopia already but to move to a permanent  job which is specifically about that can deteriorate the body of a young woman very quickly. The lack of machinery, the long hours of work, and probably the poor access to doctors or medicines to treat injuries, can eventually lead to long term disability for those women. And what about the risk of sexual assault or even if sex is consented, the chance of becoming pregnant or getting a STD? And as you can read already in the article, women are usually paid less for the same kind of job.

But I still think that the outcome is positive, these unskilled jobs offer the first step to other paths, like education to have access to better paid jobs. Once a woman gets the taste of the things she can accomplish, nothing can stop her. If not, check this website about strong and smart Ethiopian women.
Women are already the backbone of the country, and have being doing much of the manual labor for a long time -from house chores, to working fields and carrying goods on their backs- so it’s a welcome change that they get paid for it, but I hope they get organized to fight for their rights too.

Captain Amsale Gualu Endegnanew


Ethiopian Women And Girls Find Work In Construction NPR
The New Challenge to Working Women in Ethiopia Ezega.com
Dispatch from Ethiopia – Part IV: Ethiopian Women Make the Country Work
Ethiopian Women Unleashed IRIN news
ETHIOPIA: HIV risk in a booming construction industry