It’s not all celebration: Farm Radio Ethiopia tackles gender equality at a staff level

Recently our team in Ethiopia marked International Women’s Day with a reception celebrating the unique contributions women in the office are making every day. Women in the office shared different perspectives and experiences in their own lives.

Kidist Kebede is a country project officer and the gender focal person in our office in Ethiopia. She explained how the experiences shared on International Women’s Day have sparked change within her own office.

Farm Radio International in Ethiopia, along with the rest of the world, celebrated International Women’s Day on March 8, 2019. A reception was held with all staff to honour the women team members and their contributions to our work here in Ethiopia.

The refreshments were good and the mood very upbeat as we talked about the various achievements and the advances we have made toward women’s equality and inclusiveness.

At this event, we had a good round table discussion on the challenges facing women in the workplace and society. Each female member shared different perspectives and experiences from their own lives. It’s not all celebration!

While we have made strides in the right direction, our discussions reminded everyone in the room how far we have yet to go. Some of the thoughts that were shared that day include very sobering and everyone gained from the openness of the women in discussing issues that were real, practical and not always obvious. We talked about the many subtle ways that women can be marginalized and how their concerns regarding safety and travel might not always be understood by their male counterparts.

The main thing that came out of our celebration that day is that, we simply don’t make enough time for these issues to be discussed, understood or dealt with on a regular basis.

So… it was decided that women’s issues and gender policy will be a standing item on the agenda of every staff meeting. This will give a regular forum for openness, respect, and actions that can be too often not seen as urgent.

These issues are for the entire staff to be aware of and to understand, not relegated only to conversations between a female staff member and her direct supervisor (although that is clearly appropriate and needed as well!).

It was a good day, and while we all walked away with a clear picture of work still needing to be done, there was also a sense of hope and willingness to make change. Here at FRI, women have made an enormous contribution in unique ways that make us proud everyday; we want to recognize that and continue to build an open, transparent and supportive organization that encourages every member of the team.

It’s a theme that continues across all aspects of our work — we continue to address gender across all of our resources and projects. You can check out our gender policy by clicking here; learn about one of our newest projects: Scaling Her Voice on Air, which aims to engage and serve women farmers and challenge inequalities between women and men; or check out some of our resources on gender for broadcasters to use in their programming.

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