Ethiopia has combined its fourth and fifth reports to the United Nations Committee that monitors the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). This report outlines the status of women in Ethiopia and initiatives on the part of all government and non-governmental actors to address the goals set out by CEDAW. Institutional commitments to address gender issues are in place. However, the socioeconomic status of women, particularly in rural areas, remains lower in Ethiopia's male-biased social structures. The national women's machinery in partnership with civil society and donors has been trying to tackle this situation through the development of a National Plan of Action with clearly defined objectives. Women's concerns are being addressed through changes in a broad range of areas, including water, domestic violence agricultural and family policy. Initiatives have been introduced to improve access to credit, training, skills and information, and improved support for advocacy campaigns around women's concerns. Progress in key areas are outlined, with statistics on legal equality, life expectancy, female mortality and education included. The report concludes by outlining the challenges still faced by Ethiopia, including a lack of resources to initiate long-term programmes, the need for more gender-disaggregated data, a lack of awareness of gender mainstreaming and the need to understand women's issues as well as involve them in political processes.
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