Ethiopia on the cusp of change


Maya Graf, member of the Biovision Foundation Board.

Comment from Maya Graf, biovision foundation board member, organic farmer and national councilor (green party, BL)

When it comes to gender equality, it seems that Ethiopia is now in the fast lane. In October 2018, the country appointed its first ever female president Sahele-Work Zewde and since then, there has been equality in government as well: Women now occupy 10 of the 20 seats in the Ethiopian cabinet.

In rural Ethiopia, however, equality between women and men is still far from being a reality. However, impatience at this state of affairs would be misguided, particularly given the situation in Switzerland. In terms of gender equality between women and men, Switzerland remains the most conservative country in Europe, even though women are now better educated than men.

Switzerland has major inequalities, e.g. only 7% of those in senior company positions are women; to which must be added wage discrimination and the difficulty of reconciling work and family life. In parliament, where the country’s future is decided, women only account for about one-third of members. The situation is somewhat better in the Federal Council with its three women and four men, i.e. almost the parity achieved in Ethiopia. Things need to change for women in both the Global South and North. This change is now even more urgent, given the need to overcome challenges such as climate change, poverty, hunger and social tensions.

Porträit Maya Graf
Maya Graf, member of the Biovision Foundation Board.



“Engaging women farmers is the key to our success”

For 20 years, Esther Lupafya and Rachel Bezner Kerr have been working together for healthy nutrition in Malawi. In this interview, the founders of Biovision’s partner organisation “Soils, Food and Healthy Communities” (SFHC) talk about gender norms and the power of knowledge exchange and participatory research.

Food security in rural Ethiopia

In southwestern Ethiopia, rural households are struggling with soil degradation and crop failures. Working together, they are taking measures to limit soil erosion and also to diversify their sources of income, in order to protect themselves from crises.