The Role of Women: Reflection (Biya from Adam University

Women play important role in the societies they live. The importance of the women is recognized either when they are missed from important situations or when they play a decisive role in a difficult situations. History is full of testimonies of the crucially important roles played by women. The tragedy is that, often men, who get dominant position due to culture, fail to recognize the importance of the women in decision making. The biggest mistake of any society is the failure to involve women. Today, I like to write the contributions of women in the struggle of the Ethiopian people in particular the Oromo people.

I was reading the list of individuals who sacrificed their life for the cause of the Oromo people. In the list there is only 3% women and 97% men. I was stunned by the gross mistake. Needless to say that with each brave Oromo men there are and there were courageous Oromo women. But society tend to forget their contributions and give all credit to men. Why the name of the women jailed and some of them died in the hands of brutal regimes not reported in the same way it is done for men? Why only the media report about heroes and forget the heroine?

One of the reason why many organizations, particularly Oromo organizations, fail to make progress is because most important responsibilities are taken by men and the voices of women is not heard. Women are not consulted or asked to make their contributions. The attitude is that only men know and women do not know or not comprehend with difficult situations. But this is wrong and it is one of the reasons why important organizations failed in the past. Imagine some of the well respected and loved Oromo organizations who exist only for the name sake. You see 99% men in the central committees and only by accident or sometimes intentionally handful women are included. Even these women serve in a very hostile environment where they are not even given a chance to speak. For many men it is enough that women show their presence at the board room or meeting hall and that is all women are expected to do.

The truth is that the contributions of women to the cause of Oromo is far more than we imagine. We need to bring to the day light the many Oromo women who played critical role in the quest for freedom, justice and democracy. Let us remember some of the Oromo women who were jailed for number of years. These women received shameful and shabby treatment in the hand of the brutal Ethiopian regimes. They were separated from their husband and children. Some of them were informed about the loss of their own offspring while in prison. Women like Addee Tsahai Tolasaa, Addee Demeqech Bekele, Dr. Kuwee Kumsa, Addee Addis Alem Geneti and many others. They deserve appreciation for enduring the difficult time. The fact that some of them still live in our midst is a testimony to the determination and endurance of these women. We should not forget that during difficult time women were the ones who managed most of the logistics of Oromo political organizations.

Women are about half of the Oromo population. Any struggle, strategy, campaign, and plan that does not involve and engage women is bound to fail. Therefore, women should be at the center of all our endeavor. They have excellent instinct that enable them to excel in planning, networking, organizing, mobilizing and executing. Once they accept responsibilities, they commit themselves to the task and carry out the task to the detail and to the end. It is a big mistake to not make use of such an important resource to the maximum.

One of the important steps taken by the Oromia regional government, and Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed is the increased role of women in government and public services. For example the appointment of Mrs Tayiba Hassen as the Vice president of Oromia regional government, Mrs. Adanech Abebe to the key position of OPDO leadership is a good sign that women are being given responsibilities and positions they deserve. These women are the rising stars. We regret and mourned the death of Addee Aziizaa Abdii one of highly reliable women. History will not forget the vote she casted while she was sick. That is the kind of personalities we need. Those who stand for the cause of our people under any circumstance.

Therefore, our government at each and every level and the community need to empower women because our country needs more women in government, businesses and entrepreneurship. Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. Since men dominate the political, economic and social landscape of our society men need to reshape their own perception of how the view women. We appreciate what team Lemma and Prime Minister Aby have done to bring our bright and best women to the position of responsibilities. We ask them to continue to do more. If we do not fully involve women, we will fizzle before we reach our goal. Without any exaggeration I like to say that depending on men alone is like using straw for a battering ram. The straw will break and the gate will not yield!