Forum for Social Studies (FSS) organized a one-day national conference on the state and transformation of female wage labor in three economic sectors in Ethiopia on Friday, March 10, 2023, at the Inter Luxury Hotel, Addis Ababa.
The national conference comes after the successful completion of three research reports as a culmination of a field research project under the theme of “The State and Transformation of Female Wage Labor in Ethiopia: The Case of Textile/Garment, Floriculture, and Cafe & restaurant service Industries”.
The objective of the national conference was to present the FSS-sponsored researches to relevant stakeholders, in the one hand, and create a platform for other most relevant stakeholder perspectives on the other, thereby further expand and deepen the discussion on female wage labor in the studied three sectors in particular and female wage labor in all economic sectors in the country in general.
The conference started with a brief welcoming and opening speech by Dr. Yeraswork Admassie, Executive Director of Forum for Social Studies (FSS).
During the conference, six papers were presented and discussed in the morning and afternoon sessions.
In the morning session, three FSS-sponsored researches conducted under the following titles were presented followed by a lively discussion by the attending participants:
- The State and Transformation of Female Wage Labour in Ethiopia: The Case of Textile/Garment industries;
- The State and Transformation of Female Wage Labour in Ethiopia: The Case of the Floriculture Sector ;
- The State and Transformation of Female Wage Labor in Ethiopia: The of the Café and Restaurant.
As the discussion progressed, realizing the presence of some participants in the audience who did not attend the validation workshop that was organized on 27th of April, 2022 at Elilly International Hotel, and the need to provide a context, Dr Yeraswork provided a brief background of the research endeavor, right from the inception, identification and selection of the sectors for the study and the entire process of the research endeavor.
He said the three sectors were among others considered for the study, but selected for their significance. He also mentioned the impact of COVID-19 which he said hampered the data collection process.
Up on the completion of the field research, the key findings of the research were presented at a validation workshop to an audience of relevant stakeholders, he added.
With that, the conference resumed and a live discussion ensued during which important inputs and questions were forwarded.
Likewise, in the afternoon session, three discussion papers were presented by speakers from three relevant government and non-government stakeholders.
The first presentation was made by Ato Dawi Ibrahim, a veteran trade unionist, now serving as industrial relations to the current president of Confederation of Ethiopian Trade Union (CETU). His presentation started with providing an organizational overview and historical background including the achievements of CETU in its 90 years of journey. He also dwelt on the importance of, and the state of female wage labor in the three studied sectors and others in Ethiopia.
The second presenter was a gender expert from the Ethiopian Floriculture Association who spoke on the state and transformation female wage labor with especial emphasis on in the floriculture sector, including the opportunities and challenges therein.
The third presenter was Miss Hana Maru, a lawyer by profession, who currently serves as a tripartite relations senior expert at the Ministry of Labor and Skills (MoLS). She spoke on governments’ perspective on the state and transformation of female wage labor in the three economic sectors and all women wage laborers in all economic sectors in general. She explained on the achievements so far and the challenges.
The day-long discussion sessions were chaired by Dr. Ezana Amdework, FWL Project Coordinator, and Asst Professor of Sociology at the Addis Ababa University (AAU), and Dr. Selam Esayas, also Asst Professor of Sociology at the Addis Ababa University (AAU.
The one-day conference formally ended with a closing remark by Ato Ayalew Ahmed, Vice President of the Confederation of Ethiopian Trade Unions (CETU) who expressed his appreciation of FSS’ commitment to undertake research and dialogue on labor related issues in general, and those that are concerned with gender relations, in particular.
Around 55 individuals, 25 of whom were female, drawn from various sectors including Government Offices, Civil Society Organizations, the Confederation of Ethiopian Trade Unions (CETU), the floriculture sector and the media attended and actively participated in the two discussion sessions.
A book containing the research reports of the three FSS-sponsored researches and policy briefs out of these, including the discussion papers presented by stakeholders at the national conference and the proceedings will be duly edited, published and disseminated to various Government and NON-Government stakeholders and the public at large.
FSS will also utilize other communication channels to see that the results of the research and the discussions reach the intended audience (digital, print and electronic media, notably through its FM Radio outreach programs).
Specifically, radio programs made out of the conference will be broadcast through የጎጆአችን ወግ, FSS’ weekly radio outreach programs it is currently running.
As a follow-up to the national conference, FSS will organize roundtable discussion events of key stakeholders, comprising researchers, women workers from the three sectors, and representatives of the relevant stakeholders soon.