In its 2011 response to CEDAW, Ethiopia reported that it had drafted a national plan to combat violence against women and children. Domestic violence is a crime under the Criminal Code, which, under Articles 555-560, applies to a person who “by doing violence to a marriage partner or a person cohabitating in an irregular union, causes grave or common injury to his/her physical or mental health”.However, it is unclear what the punishments are for offenders, or how this law is implemented in practice.
Violence against women is widespread and abuses, including wife beating and spousal rape, are pervasive social problems with wide acceptance. A 2009 WHO study found that 70% of Ethiopian women suffered physical violence from their husband or partner at some point in their life, and over 50% had suffered physical violence in the preceding 12 months.The 2011 Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) found that, when presented with a list of five reasons for which a man might be justified in beating his wife, 68% of women surveyed agreed with at least one of the reasons, a percentage down from 81% in the 2005 DHS.
The 2005 Penal Code establishes penalties for rape of between 5 and 20 years imprisonment. Formerly, men could avoid this charge if they married the victim (spousal rape was not considered a crime). The new Code repealed this provision, but fails to invalidate earlier marriages contracted on this basis, although it does allow the prosecution to continue, regardless of the status of marriage. According to the government’s latest response to CEDAW, it is “considering” amending the Criminal Code to include the concept of spousal rape.
As elsewhere, sexual violence (predominantly against women) was a feature of the conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea in the 1990s, and continues to be reported in the Ogaden region. According to Human Rights Watch, “systematic” rape has been a feature of the government’s counter-insurgency strategy in the region since 2007, directed against women suspected of having links to the Ogaden National Liberation Front. More recently, in 2012, there were reports of rape, arbitrary arrest and other human rights abuses by the Ethiopian military in the Gambella region.
Sexual harassment is not criminalised under the Labour Code in Ethiopia, although the government reported in its latest response to CEDAW that it was “ready to consider [criminalising sexual harassment] in the future after conducting research on the issues to identify the magnitude and nature of the problem”.
The 2005 Demographic and Health Survey reported that 74.3% of women ages 15-49 had experienced female genital mutilation. 
Abortion is legal in cases of rape and incest, where the woman’s health is in danger, and in cases of foetal impairment.
 CEDAW (2011), p. 8  CEDAW (2009), pp. 12, 46  WHO (2009), p. 56  Measure DHS (2011b), p. 256  ECA (2009a), p. 69  CEDAW (2011), p. 8  Arrieff (2009), pp. 1, 3, 5  Human Rights Watch (2008)  Human Rights Watch (2012)  CEDAW (2011), p. 15 OECD (2014), Gender, Institutions and Development Database, http://stats.oecd.org  UN DESA (2013)
The male/female sex ratio for the working age population in 2013 is 0.96 while the sex ratio at birth is 1.03. There is no evidence to suggest that Ethiopia is a country of concern in relation to missing women.
2008-2012 data from UNICEF indicates a gender gap in detriment of girls in secondary and primary education.
Based on 2002-2012 data from UNICEF, child labour affected boys more than girls.
 CIA, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2018.html (accessed 25/04/2014)  UNICEF, http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/ethiopia_statistics.html (accessed 25/04/2014)  UNICEF, http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/ethiopia_statistics.html (accessed 25/04/2014)
Women’s ownership rights are limited in Ethiopia. Since 1997, reforms have improved access to land by stipulating that women have the right to lease land from the government, a right also granted in the Federal Constitution. Ethiopian law presumes joint or communal property as the default regime, and married couples may acquire and title land jointly. As a result, according to the latest Demographic and Health Survey (DHS), women and men are equally likely to own land, either alone (50%) or jointly (51%). However, it is frequently the case that women’s only chance to access land is through marriage. Women who separate from their husbands are likely to lose their houses and property, and when a husband dies, other family members often claim the land over his widow. The 2005 DHS reports that 20% of widows reported being dispossessed of their land.
Under the new Family Code, previous requirements that husbands should have unique control over common property have been removed. Common property is now to be administered jointly by both spouses.As a result, according to the latest DHS, 57% of women own their home, either alone or jointly, compared with 53% of men.
According to the World Bank, there are no legal restrictions on women’s access to credit in Ethiopia. Despite these rights, in its latest report to CEDAW the government described several barriers to women’s access to credit in practice, including: women’s limited awareness about the availability of credit, women’s lack of collateral and economic stability required to access credit, and a general lack of trust of women in society. According to the government, it has been working with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs as well as international organisations to increase women’s access to credit by helping to increase access to microfinance institutions.In 2011, women were 64.44% of microfinance borrowers from institutions that reported to the international clearinghouse the Microfinance Information Exchange.
 Article 35, Sub Section 7 of the Constitution, in ECA (2009b), p. 5  Constitution, Articles 35, 40; Revised Family Code, Proclamation No. 213/2000, Articles 59, 66, 90; World Bank (2013)  Measure DHS (2011a), p. 14  CSO and ORC Macro (2006), Table 16.12  CEDAW (2009), p. 35  Measure DHS (2011a), p. 14  World Bank (2013)  CEDAW (2009), p. 30  CEDAW (2009), p. 30  Microfinance Information Exchange (2013)
Freedom of movement is restricted in certain parts of Ethiopia on account of national security concerns. There do not appear to be any legal restrictions specifically on women’s freedom of access to public space; however, some women may face restrictions on a day-to-day basis: of women surveyed in the 2011 Demographic and Health Survey, 78% of women have sole or joint decision-making power about visiting family or friends.
Regarding political voice, there are no known quotas to encourage women’s participation in politics in Ethiopia; women have the same rights as men to vote and stand for election to political office. As of 2009, 13% of the top positions in both the executive and judicial branches were held by women; among higher-level positions below the ministers and judges, women held 26.6%. That same year, Ethiopia ranked third in African countries in the number of women in parliaments (27.8 as of 2013).
Rising female rates of political participation correspond to recent survey data showing an increase in acceptance of women politicians. According to a 2007 World Values Survey, more than 77% of respondents either disagreed or disagreed strongly with the statement, “Men make better political leaders than women do”.Similarly, the Pew Global Attitudes Project found that while 51% of respondents thought that men make better political leaders than women, 45% thought that men and women were equally capable. Nevertheless, in its latest report to CEDAW, the government described the persisting “traditional perception of the public that women are not competent enough to make decisions”.
Under Labour Proclamation 2003, Section 88, employed women in Ethiopia are entitled to 90 days of paid maternity leave, with their employer covering the entire cost of their benefits, which are 100% of their wages.Workers not covered under the Labour Proclamation may be entitled to limited leave under section 2566 of the 1960 Civil Code.According to the 2011 DHS, women are nearly three times as likely as men to be unpaid for their work (30% compared to 9%). While no official statistics exist, these circumstances would indicate that the number of women who receive maternity benefits in Ethiopia is low.
 Measure DHS (2011a), p. 14  CEDAW (2009), p. 15  ECA (2009b), p. 3  OECD (2014), Gender, Institutions and Development Database, http://stats.oecd.org  CEDAW (2009), p. 15  World Values Survey (2006), Question V61  Pew Research Center (2007), Question Q.43  CEDAW (2009), p. 15  ILO (2011)  ILO (2011)  Measure DHS (2011a), p. 14
Arrieff, A. (2009) Sexual Violence in African Conflicts, Congressional Research Service, Washington, D.C., http://www.stoprapenow.org/uploads/advocacyresources/1282163655.pdf.
Boyden, J., A. Pankhurst and Y. Tarefe (2013) Harmful Traditional Practices and Child Protection: Contested Understandings and Practices of Female Circumcision in Ethiopia. Young Lives, An International Study of Childhood Poverty. Working Paper 93, http://www.younglives.org.uk/files/working-papers/yl-wp93_boyden-et-al (accessed 14 October 2013).
CEDAW (2002) Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 18 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women: Ethiopia, Combined Fourth and Fifth Periodic Reports of States Parties, CEDAW/C/ETH/4-5, Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, New York, NY.
CEDAW (2004) Summary Record of the 645th Meeting, CEDAW/C/SR.645, New York, NY.
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CEDAW (2011) Responses to the List of Issues and Questions with Regard to the Consideration of the Sixth and Seventh Periodic Reports: Ethiopia, Addendum, CEDAW/C/ETH/Q/6-7/Add.1, Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, New York, NY.
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ECA (2009b) Country Questionnaire for the Fifteenth-Year Review and Appraisal of the Implementation of the Beijing Platform of Action (BPFA+ 15), Economic Commission for Africa, Addis Ababa.
FAO (n.d.) Gender and Land Rights Database: Ethiopia, http://www.fao.org/gender/landrights/ (accessed 14 October 2013).
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Human Rights Watch (2012) Ethiopia: Army Commits Torture, Rape, http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/08/28/ethiopia-army-commits-torture-rape (14 December 2013).
ILO (2011) Database of Conditions of Work and Employment Laws, International Labour Organization, http://www.ilo.org/dyn/travail/travmain.sectionReport1?p_lang=en&p_countries=ET&p_sc_id=2000&p_year=2011&p_structure=3 (accessed 14 October 2013).
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