Women have been making a lot of progress in the past months, years and century in different parts of the world. 2019 is a very special year for women. Exactly 100 years ago, in 1919, for the first time, women have been allowed to participate in the elections in Germany. Also, in January 2019, the first female president of Ethiopia has been elected. This development is a huge and important step . It shows that women in power are being more and more accepted and even wished. This representation matters for young women, especially in Ethiopia.
So, today, on the 8th of March, we are again celebrating the success of women and the progress women have made and are constantly making globally. This date is a great opportunity to both look in the past and future to recall what we have already achieved and raise awareness about the goals still to be achieved.
This year’s theme of the International Women’s Day “Balance for Better”, also promoted by #balanceforbetter, demonstrates what feminism in its roots is trying to create: Balance. Balance between men and women is highly important to overcome gender-based bias. Balance equals equality. Feminism is striving for political, economic and social equality between women and men. The political activism regarding women’s rights that is taking place at the moment is called a “fourth-wave feminism”. The topic has been very present in the medial discourse during the last years due to, amongst other happenings, the election of Donald Trump in 2016 and the start of the #MeToo movement in 2017. Right now, we find ourselves in a period of time in which both women and men are figuring out what their new role in society could look like.
PROJECT-E empowers and encourages women in Ethiopia to educate themselves and reach their full potential. Economic and social independence of women will only be accomplished if they can earn their own money. The Project has been a huge success so far: Every single student who graduated from the PROJECT-E Hospitality Institute, is now working in one of the big hotels of Addis Ababa. With education and employment there comes opportunity, which can then be the root of change.
However, there is yet a long way to go. The fact that there is still a “first women to…” in the discourse and that globally, women still suffer from severe inequality, discrimination and assault shows the case quite clearly. In order to prevail negative backlashes from society, PROJECT-E aims not only to teach women hotel operation, communication and language skills but also to build their self-confidence and perseverance and therefore helps their personal as well as their professional growth.
So, let’s celebrate how far we’ve come and how motivated and empowered we already are to tackle the obstacles that are still left to overcome! Empowering International Women’s Day to every single woman on this planet!
Written by Anne Stellberger