WOMEN have been key players in Eritrea’s nation building process, from their invaluable participation in the country’s independence struggle to their ongoing contributions to the development agenda. Inspired by this powerful legacy, the Government of the State of Eritrea has made the empowerment of women a national priority, and committed to a development agenda grounded in social justice and gender equality.
Gender discrimination remains prevalent in some aspects of Eritrean culture, however, women continue to be affected by prejudice. Social change takes time, especially in societies where the culture of patriarchy and subordination of women is deeply embedded. For thirty years, the National Union of Eritrean Women (NUEW) has worked to propel social transformation in Eritrea and build a national environment conducive to the full participation of women in all aspects of Eritrean social, political and economic life.
In 2003, nearly 400 women from around the country and abroad participated in the 6th Congress of the National Union of Eritrean Women, which resulted in an ambitious agenda for moving forward. Over the past ten years, the organization has recorded a number of impressive achievements. More than 2.9 million persons – 90 per cent of them women – have attended nearly 25,000 meetings on women’s empowerment. 47 million Nakfa has been loaned to nearly 12,000 beneficiaries of the Microcredit Program across the country and professional training centres have been established in a number of regions. Over 3.8 million people have benefitted from education on women’s health and harmful traditional practices.
This flagship report showcases these achievements and other key steps taken on the path towards gender equity in Eritrea. We set out to evaluate the past ten years, review the accomplishments made in the political, social, cultural and economic spheres, and explore the challenges and opportunities that will define our way forward.