A Journey Towards Gender Equality

At the kickoff of the TMT Orange Knowledge Programme in Addis Ababa, project manager Emebet Hussen met with Sr. Aster Dawit, a current participant, to gain deeper insights into her motivations for enrolling in the Gender[e]Quality program.

Advocate and Educator: Sr. Aster Dawit’s Dedication to Gender Equality

Sr. Aster Dawit works as a midwife in the field of maternal and reproductive health care and has worked in academia and clinical settings for more than 35 years. Furthermore, she volunteers with the Ethiopian Midwives Association. Currently, she serves as the president of the EMwA chapter office in Addis Ababa. She joined the blended learning course on Gender[e]Quality, funded by the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and attended the kick-off workshop in Addis Ababa. Prior to joining this Nuffic project, she had no previous experience on blended learning courses. She expressed her feeling about this opportunity as follow: 

“I am very interested to enroll in the Gender[e] Equality blended learning course because I believe it can significantly improve the lives of women and girls in various aspects, such as family dynamics and workplaces.”

Embarking on the Journey for Equality

After completing this course, she intends to open a new social media account to create awareness about Gender equality, extending the discourse to the workplace, parenthood, and marriage relationship. She also emphasized the importance of equipping individuals with knowledge from early childhood to adulthood, aiming to educate both genders on the principles of gender equality.

Sr. Aster Dawit during the interview

With a wealth of knowledge and professional expertise, Sr. Aster brought to light examples of discrimination and disrespect directed towards women as a result of cultural influences. She described a particular instance in which she was working as a clinical care provider in Gonder when a woman developed fistula after childbirth. When the woman’s husband heard of her condition, like developing  urine incontinence, he chose to leave her with her family and returned to his town rather than offering support and compassion for her. His departure, attached with the implication he would not go with his wife and her parents to more advanced facilities, showed a hard disregard and discrimination for her and her condition.

Sr. Aster Dawit’s Gender Equality Advocacy

Sr. Aster views the Gender[e]Quality course as an excellent chance for both professional and personal growth, and she considers it as a successful path for career promotion. She wants to better understand and promote gender equality at work and in society to help make a positive impact on the community. 

She is confident the course will make a big difference in her career. As a lecturer in colleges and universities, this course will increase her dedication to keep students updated and educated about the rights of men and women. She stresses that women can contribute just as men. Ultimately, the intention is to raise consciousness and establish a welcoming environment in the educational domain where gender equality is not only recognized but actively encouraged.

Sr. Aster Dawit with her team during the blended learning kick-off workshop on Gender[e]equality course

She highlights the course’s importance in boosting personal and professional growth, extending its impact to the community through media efforts. The focus is on ensuring equality and providing fair educational opportunities, with a commitment to ongoing training. Additionally, she stresses the importance of educating and updating  men on female leadership, because men must be onboard with female leadership for it to be successful. Further, men can motivate women to actively participate in advancing gender equality by encouraging and supporting them. Even men can improve the status of female educational status through training. She is also looking forward to attending future workshops on gender equality. 

Sr. Aster’s efforts to educate gender will be increased as a result of the training, and she is urging her students to focus particularly on the fair treatment of both male and female colleagues. She highlighted the benefit of this blended learning course for her own application:

“This blended learning course encouraged me to teach me more on gender to motivate the students to give special attention for both genders. “

She also commented on her comfort with the use of the internet and technology:

I am very interested and comfortable using smart phones and laptops, the only challenge is Wi-Fi . It is a problem for most areas.”

She also intends to create an action plan to finish the course on time and to give practical emphasis on gender equality and leadership for the course’s instant implementation:

“I am happy with this kick-off workshop because gender equality is forgotten and left behind in most communities. Lucy app is also very important for women to find solutions for their problems and questions easily during pregnancy and in the early life of their baby. It is very interesting.”

Further, Sr. Aster highlights the need for sustainability and more elaborate plans to grow these programs to help more midwives. Notably, the difficulties are not limited to the workplace; they also appear in home and community contexts when there is still a persistent gender gap between male and female partners. Sr. Aster was also motivated with the ideas brought forth by other participants regarding women in leadership during the kick-off workshop. 

Aims to improve Gender Equality in Education

Sr. Aster aims to pass along recommendations she learned in the Gender[e]Quality course to work better in the community on gender equality, because gender inequality is also persistent between male and female partners, and within the family. As a result, the program encourages positive change by motivating Sr. Aster to actively address and lessen gender-related inequalities in the workplace and in the community.

To read more about the Gender[e]Quality course, check out our news item here!