The Center of Gender Studies (CGS), the formerly Centre for Research, Training and Information on Women in Development (CERTWID) was established in 1991 as a unit within the Institute of Development Research (IDR) at Addis Ababa University. In its commitment to strengthen the center, Addis Ababa University upgraded CERTWID to an independent Institute for Gender Studies in 2006. The Institute’s main goal is to enable Ethiopian women to empower themselves socially, culturally, economically and politically so that they can become active participants in, as well as equal beneficiaries of the development process. It sets out to assist Ethiopian women to realize this goal through education, research, training, documentation and publication. The Institute also serves as a link between the academic community and policy makers, as well as national and international NGOs who share its goal.

The Center is currently active in four major areas of focus, namely education, research, training and, publication and documentation. In terms of education, the Institute launched its MA program in Gender studies in 2005, where it has so far graduated 60 students in three batches at Master’s level and there are 49 active students pursuing their studies this academic year. Out of these, 24 have fulfilled the requirements and are due to graduate at the end of this month.

Research is a major undertaking of IGS. The Centre has carried out and sponsored several researches on gender-related issues. In its efforts to stimulate research on gender, the Centre has put in place an annual research grant competition program on gender issues. The program has prompted several faculty and students to undertake researches on gender issues.

CGS has several publications on gender issues that are accessible to students, researchers, and all stakeholders. In terms of documentation, CGS houses one of the most extensive collections of information resources on the subject matter. The Center has also prepared a list of bibliographies of the research works of the graduate students. The documentation center is accessed by faculty, students and researchers within and outside the university community.

CGS is also involved in organizing and facilitatingtrainings. It has organized a number of trainings and workshops for Addis Ababa University staff members and students, employees of government and non-government organizations working on gender issues. Some of the workshops were on gender mainstreaming, gender sensitive research methodology, gender and leadership in Ethiopia, integrating gender into AAU’s curriculum and urbanization and gender in Ethiopia.

The Centre of Gender Studies, as part of its strategy, works in collaboration with other departments of the university, government and nongovernmental organizations, as well as individuals to achieve its goal. The Center had been engaged invarious partnership projects with other Institutions such as The Netherlands Embassy, Oxfam Canada and the International Institute for Rural Reconstruction (IIRR). Currently, there is a collaborative project with the University of Tromsoe, Norway funded by The Norwegian Program for Development Research and Education (NUFU). The Institute also has an upcoming project on building the capacities of Women’s Affairs Offices of various ministries, with the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM).
CGS strives to forge links with different organizations to promote gender issues in Ethiopia. In view of this, the Center has created partnership with the Packard Foundation. After several meetings of discussion, a concept note was prepared and submitted to Packard Foundation which was accepted by the organization and a consultative meeting involving other partners was held to discuss the core components of the concept note – curriculum development, and capacity building of IGS.

Mission, Vision and Objectives of CGS


The overall mission of the Project is to contribute to creating a society where women and men are viewed and treated equally and are fully respected; regardless of their gender, ethnicity or socioeconomic and political background; creating conditions in which all live in peace, dignity and in a milieu in which the rights of all are protected and respected, in a society free from all forms of abuse and violations.


The purpose of the Project is to build the capacities of the Regional Institute of Gender, Diversity, Peace and Rights (RIG/DPR) at Ahfad University for Women and in two other Partners at Makerere and Addis Ababa universities to promote knowledge, networking and exchange of experience within the region for directing policy, enhancing advocacy dialogue, indigenous curriculum development and activism on gender-related issues, peace, respect for diversities and human rights.


  • To build and enhance the institutional capacities of RIG/DPR, Makerere and Addis Ababa Universities and enable them to promote their resources to effectively manage the project to achieve its purpose.
  • To promote civic engagement and enable the RIG/DPR, Makerere and Addis Ababa Universities to become forum for advocacy, dialogue and activism on women empowerment, peace and respect to diversity and rights.
  • To build the academic capacities of RIG/DPR, Makerere and Addis Ababa Universities through staff and curriculum development, promoting the regional networking and international profile of these institutions.
  • To promote the creation and dissemination of knowledge and the internationalization of the universities through the promotion of publication of research findings and the exchanges of experiences and expertise among academics and young researchers at national and regional levels.

The parties shall cooperate closely ondevelopment cooperation issues, development goals and strategies for the Project and their consequences for the implementation of the Project.

Shared principles and values:

  • Openness, accountability, transparency and good governance.
  • Sensitivity to gender and commitment to gender-responsive policies, plans, activities and environment.
  • Respect for diversity and differences.
  • Respect for human rights and human dignity.
  • Peace, peaceful coexistence and peaceful resolution of disputes and disagreements.

RIG/DPR Project Objectives and Accomplishments

Objective 1: Institutional Strengthening

Partners’ meeting at AAU

The Regional Institute of Gender, Peace, Diversity and Rights (RIG/DPR) organizes partner meetings at the different Universities (AAU, MU and AUW).

Through these meetings, partners share experiences as tohow they implement the project activities; about challenges that have been encountered; and learn best practices that would be replicated in each partner institutes. The meetings have been crucial in strengthening the partnership and facilitating further collaboration in all regards.

Library resources

The Center for Gender Studies (CGS) has been working on the purchase of books and computers for the library automation endeavor. The center has its own Library with resources on Gender sensitive and development related references. It has a Librarian who facilitates access of resources to students as well as interested researchers.

Objective 2: Civic Engagement Activities

Inspiring Futures: Girls’ Access to Justice in Relation to Free Legal Aid (30th March 2012)

In commemoration of the 2012 International Women’s Day, the Center for Gender Studies in collaboration with the Ethiopian Women Lawyers’ Association (EWLA) organized a panel discussion entitled “Inspiring Futures: Girls’ Access to Justice in Relation to Free Legal Aid” on March 30, 2012. The main objective of the workshop wasto discuss the regional and national practices of girls’ and women’s access to justice, emphasizing the importance of free legal aid to realizing their rights. About 120 participants from different sectors such as the parliament, academia, ministries, governmental and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the private sector and the media attended the workshop.

The vice president for external relations, strategic planning and partnerships of AAU welcomed participants with a warm welcoming remark. Following that, Her Excellency, W/roAsmaruBerihun, Commissioner of Women and Children Affairs of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, the guest of honor of the panel discussion, gave a key note address establishinga relationshipbetweenthe topic of the discussion andthe mandate of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission. Then presentations on Women’s and Girls’ Access to Justice: Regional Perspective and National Perspectives were made respectively by Ato Abraham Ayalew, Advisor and Program Coordinator of Ethiopian Human Rights Commission and WroZenayeTadesse, Executive Director of Ethiopian Women Lawyers’ Association (EWLA). Afterwards, EWLA’s Contribution towards Women’s’ and Girls’ Access to Justice as an experience was presented examining the free legal aid service provided by the association. Finally, a number of questions were raised and a lively discussion followed.

Writing and Presenting about Gender, and Listening to A Young Female Entrepreneur (July 18 – 20, 2012)

A need to conduct training for the students at the Center had been emphasized after identifying a gap in the students’ writing and presentation skills during classes. Hence, atwo-day training under the title “Writing and Presenting about Gender, and Listening to A Young Female Entrepreneur” was conducted on July 18 – 20, 2012. About 30 students of the Institute participated inthe training that was given by Dr. DiluShaleka. The training, besides enhancing the capacity of students inthe areas of report writing and presentation, it also provided an opportunityfor a young female entrepreneur, who has changed her life as well as the lives of many others by establishing an NGO and providing skill trainings to several young females, to share her life experience. The training also included visiting of the NGO and sharing of experiences of the beneficiaries of the organization.

Gender Equality and Governance: a Pathway to Social and Economic Transformation in Africa (7th July 2011)

A public lecture under the title ‘Gender Equality and Governance: a Pathway to Social and Economic Transformation in Africa’ was organized on July 7, 2011 presented by Elizabeth A. Eilor, Social Affairs Officer, from United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, UNECA. The lecture highlighted the key issues of good governance in the context of gender, economic and political governance in the African continent as a pathway to economic development and growth, while exemplifying this with the current situation in the continent using key principles of gender equality and governance. It puta gendered perspectiveon states, power, and governance, showing the inherent inequalities in political systems and gender systems and how they intersect. It took the participants through the pathway in which state power supports male dominance, the gender of governance. In addressing the key issues of economic and social policy, the lecture provided insights into the role of the state in delivering gender equality and ensuring that both women and men take active part in social and economic governance as well as benefit from opportunities and benefits of development at all levels. About 60 participants from different sectors attended the public lecture.

Promote websites

The Institute has a website under the University webpage. It has been updated and redesigned to provide information about the center in the website. The staff members have access to theInternet at theiroffice in the AkakiCampus.

Publish educational brochures

An educational brochure has been prepared with messages mainly on issues of gender and rights in the Ethiopian context.Itexplains the broad sense of economic empowerment, political and educational rights of women in Ethiopia; the constitutional rights of women indecision making fortheir own well-being and family status, as well as the role of Ethiopian women in securing peace and resolving conflicts.

Publish bi-annual newsletter

CGS runs bi-annual newsletter to advocate the different interventions of the center through the projects. This newsletter also intends to advocate an array of genderissues.

Objective 3: Building Academic Capacity

Staff Exchange

CGS, in collaboration with Ahfad University,facilitatesstaff exchanges in which it sends staff from the center at AAU to AUW (Ahfad University for Women) and interdepartmental arrangements are being madeto undertake this activity at both universities.

MSc Regional GAG Students

CGS provides regional Scholarship for selected candidates of the MSc programs in Gender. It sends students who win the scholarship grant to Ahfad University of Women in Sudan.

National MSC Program

CGS also provides an opportunity for students who win the scholarship grant at a national level. The opportunity is given to candidates from Centre for Gender Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences and Arts, Faculty of Business and Economics, College of Development Studies and Faculty of Humanities.

Objective 4: Research

PhD grants

Two PhD programs select candidates from CGS staff. Proposals of candidates aresent to Ahfad University for approval. Currently there are two individuals who did win the PhD grant and are doing their work on:

1: An In-depth Assessment of the Lives of HIV Positive Mothers Enrolled in Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV/AIDS (PMTCT) Programs in Ethiopia: An Anthropological Study. Hanna Tegegn, Social Anthropology (Faculty of Social Sciences), and

2: Changing Agricultural Export Pattern and Its Implications for Women’s Wellbeing: the Case of Floriculture Industry in Oromia Region, Ethiopia. AynalemMegersa, Rural Livelihood and Development Studies (College of Development Studies)

Research Grants

Research grants are widely advertised in AAU and proposals are submitted to CGS and are selected by the selection committee

Currently three researches are ongoing on:

1: Women in Management: Challenges, Gaps and Performance in Public Institutions in Ethiopia  by Dr. WorkuMekonnenTadesse, Assistant Professor at the College of Education and Behavioral Studies, Addis Ababa University.

2: “Gender Beyond Generation” Studies: A New Field in Gender Socialization and Diversity with Ethiopian Examples by a team, Dr. GudayEmirie, Social Anthropology Department, AAU and Prof, BrigittaBenzing, Social Anthropology Department, AAU

3: “Land Tenure Reforms and Women’s Land Rights in Plural ‘Legal’ and Cultural Settings: A Comparative Study of the Arusii Oromo and Gamo Highlands, Ethiopia’’by a team MamoHebo(PhD) and GetanehMehari (PhD candidate)department of Social Anthropology,AAU

Organizational Change

As for organizational changes that have taken place during the year, The Institute of Gender Studies (IGS) has now been changed to the Center for Gender Studies and is currently functioning under the college of Development Studies. The former director and various senior and junior academic staff have left the Center either through resignation or requesting sabbaticals. A new director has been appointed. CGS was physically moved out of the University to Akaki Campus outside of Addis Ababa.