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ሃ.ማ.ደ.ኤ / N.U.E.W, National Union of Eritrean Women

By the early '90s, over 40% of EPLF fighters consisted of women

ሃ.ማ.ደ.ኤ / N.U.E.W, National Union of Eritrean Women
Yemane Tsegay
March 8, 2017

The Eritrean Community Center in Las Vegas Nevada is celebrating the National Union of Eritrean Women (NUEW) on March 8, 2017 in the sprite of the global national holiday for women. The true movement of Women for equality and empowerment began in most countries after the historic world conference on women in Beijing on 4-15 September 1995. The Beijing conference was the initiation of a Platform for Action against the struggle to end multiple types of discrimination against women throughout the world.

In March 2004 Eritrea has released a document to the effect of the Beijing Platform for Action that shows how it was to be implemented. In the document it was highlighted that, in the State of Eritrea the obstacles against women’s equality were identified and have been fulfilled the legal obligation by funding programs that promotes women’s right, women’s equality and empowerment within the Eritrean society. Those programs have helped to put an end to those socially, politically and economically disadvantaged women that impacts the promotion of economic growth to the benefit of Eritrean people in the environment of normal expectation for pro family life styles. Even though, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Actions serves as a launching pad for action plan to women’s right for women’s equality and empowerment all over the world, in the State of Eritrea it was began in1979 prior to the Beijing women’s conference. During the army struggle against the colonial power of Ethiopia over the Eritrean people, our women joining the male forces and they have poured out their blood as equally as the men and liberated Eritrea to become universally recognized as a sovereign state. . Thirty percent of Eritrean fighters were women. They served in every facet of military might- trained in all combat weapons including artillery operation, explosive activations, as well as teaching children at early age, health care services, intelligences matters, as army doctors, army truck drivers and even served in an all women battle group combat theatre. Our women sacrificed too much some even they gave up their youth age out of their most fertile years and remained without children and family in order to give peace and justice to future generation of Eritreans and the nation of Eritrea.

After Eritrea become independent nation, the international community must have been turn its attention to the highly visible success of the Eritrean women engaging: at high, medium and lower levels of jobs held by Eritrean women In the Civil service, our women strongly believes that they are the mastery of their destiny. They plan and pass critical decisions of polices from women’s right perspectives to be a part of the National Development programs, that offers a long and short term perspectives within the national action plans for the enhancement to economic growth of the whole society. Therefore, now we can confidently say that our women are fully engaging in the three economic sectors of Eritrea: (a) they are engaged in various types of tasks in the newly discovered Eritrea’s wealth the extracting of raw materials, (b) they are engaged in manufacturing sectors, and (c) they are also engaged in general services serving as medical Doctors, Engineers, Educators, Aviation Pilots, Heavy Equipment machine operators, Truck drivers and serving in the highest government positions as Ministers within the Government of Eritrea. On the private sector, they become farmers, retail shop owners, musicians, beauty salon artist’s, actresses and photographers just to name few.

The nation of Eritrea has been continuously engaged in various economic activities and making real
Eritrean women: The Epitome of Heroism 
concrete progress in women empowerment and equality. In reviewing the ongoing progress of the overall program of the NUEW it has been steadily improving and lifting up some disadvantaged women from poverty and the annual progress of alleviating poverty rate is expected to fall. The NUEW progress made so far have gained the equal participation of women and men in decision making processes and on the other hand also the political participation and leaderships which were those principles defined in Beijing. The Eritrean Women association is continuously encouraging all women and girls in the military, civil society organizations and even they outreach families in the rural areas of Eritrea to ensure conditions of real equality and health for women are kept in the expected normal functioning daily life of the people.

Eritrean women are very much focused with education to women and girls particularly in the rural areas of Eritrea and provide services such as: the need of consulting, advice against any attentive harsh realities of places where, due to cultural and even religious reasons, of any deviates that may introduce a form of discrimination, oppression and violence that women may experiences. Their activities and their education to the public have reached to the level of awareness to the whole society and accepted by the people that any type of women discrimination is intolerable situation and is now considered as a normal by any member of the Eritrean society.

Concluding Remarks:

My own experience about women in Eritrea is my admiration to the educational system they have for putting an end to any type of discrimination against women and girls. In reality these obstacles appears very much to be faded away and moving towards a more just peaceful social order. I am now fully convinced to work hard to the cause of women’s burning issues so that peace, justice and economic growth can flourish in Eritrea. Women can make major contributions to public life, to development, that is why every man in Eritrea must stand up and band men and women relationship through marriages that are deeply rooted in our Eritrean cultural beliefs that will lead to normal pro family life styles. All of this will also lead to equality of men and women empowerment. I will also like to insist that the role model of women decision making and leadership skills must be absolutely their own experiences gained through the hardships during the army struggle in Eritrean land. Therefore, these rich experiences must be tested its significance with proven theories of science, physics, chemistry as well as obligations, limitations must be met within the law of the land. I do not believe that a copy cat of other countries (western culture) will benefit the old, young, youth and children of Eritreans to fulfill our Eritrean reality of completion.

“Victory to our National Union of Eritrean Women and Girls equality and empowerment”.

Eritrean grandmother protesting against the illegal and unjust sanctions against Eritrea

Computer Science graduates from the Eritrean Institute of Technology in Mai Nefhi.

Iconic picture on the left is of EPLF freedom fighter Lemlem in Afabet, Eritrea in 1988. (Credit: Jenny Mattews) - Photo on the right is of Lemlem decades later. After helping achieve independence, Lemlem became a successful business woman in Eritrea. Read more of her story here.
EPLF freedom fighters. There is no independent Eritrea without Eritrean women. 
Iconic EPLF female freedom fighter

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