Prior to the 1990s, the Ethiopian civil service sector used to suffer from shortage of skilled human resource that can carry out its duties effectively and efficiently. And thus, this condition led the raison d’être of the Ethiopian Civil Service University.
The Ethiopian Civil Service University (ECSU) mandate include building the capacity of civil servants in general, and formerly disadvantageous groups of people such as females and different ethic groups in particular.
The initiatives that being undertaken by the Ethiopian Civil Service University to fill gender gaps can be exemplary to other institutions.
Issue I:Access to Education for Disadvantaged Female Servants(AEDFCS)
Ethiopia is composed of more than 80 ethnic groups; however, many of them have for long been historically marginalized in the political and socio-economical aspects of the country.
Following the present federal system (since 1991) nations, nationalities and peoples who are living in the regional states of Afar, Beni Shangul Gumz, Gambela and Somali have been identified as the most disadvantaged groups in terms of their political participation, infrastructure and other social service provisions.
Although gender inequality has been the salient feature of Ethiopia in many ways, female civil servants from these marginalized ethnic groups have suffered from double discrimination that makes them the most disadvantaged subgroups of women due to the junction of two discrimination bases- gender and ethnic identity. This situation therefore demands special type of intervention to address gender inequality. As a result, ECSU has put into practice a special admission mechanism that focuses on female civil servants in general,and from the marginalized ethnic groups in particular.
Issue II: Addressing Specific Service Needs of Female Students (ASSNFS)
In 2010, CGAD assessed the challenges of female students of ECSU. Following the research findings, ECSU took immediate actions to enhance the situation. The first challenge of female students was gynaecological service. Since most of female students are adult women and married and with children, reproductive health and pregnancy related matters is one of their priorities. Absence of such service in the University negatively affected them financially – since they had to pay personally; psychologically – if one was pregnant, she would not know what will happen at the time of unexpected incidents; and time wise – searching for health center and waiting to get the service consumed their study time significantly, ultimately impeding their educational success. The second main challenge was unable to use internet service due to the distance of the University’s library from students’ dormitories, and safety problems especially during evenings. As a result, female students, unlike their male counterparts, tended to stay at their dormitories which affected their study and competence negatively.
Issue III: Increasing the Participation of Female Academicians (IPFA)
like in many developing countries, very few women in Ethiopian higher learning institutions are engaged in teaching and research professions. For instance, according to the 2011 FDRE Ministry of Education report, only 10 % of academic staff were females. To redress this wide gender gap, ECSU has designed special intervention mechanism to hire only qualified female candidates, which is new strategy in the country.