MSM Supported Gender Equality and Women Empowerment Activities of Teaching Hospitals in Ethiopia


In November 2022, a one-day workshop to increase awareness and promote gender equality in the teaching hospital of Ethiopia was supported by the Elisabeth Strouven Foundation and Maastricht School of Management (MSM). The workshop was conducted at the Haramaya University (HU), College of Health and Medical Sciences (CHMS), in Harar, Ethiopia.

The main objective of the workshop was to create a platform for knowledge sharing among different teaching hospitals in Ethiopia. The teaching hospitals learned from each other’s practices, achievements, and challenges and also discussed ways forward. Thirty participants of whom 20 were women joined the workshop. The participants ranged from senior staff and management to female staff associations of four teaching hospitals and regional health bureaus.

Teaching hospitals presented their experiences on the level of gender awareness, integration of gender in the curriculum, and initiatives on gender equality. Teaching gender courses at the medical school of Black lion hospital was among the best practices that attracted the participants. The integration of gender in medical education at Blacklion hospital has been supported by MSM since 2018. A participant said, “Black lion hospital took a major step in including gender in its curriculum. This will motivate other teaching hospitals to implement the same in their institutions. I believe this will simplify the process of including gender in the medical curriculum in our institution.” The practice of the Zero Plan Center at Dire Dawa University (DDU) was also among the best experience that attracted further discussions. This is a center where female students meet regularly to discuss and protect each other from sexual harassment, unwanted pregnancy, and sexually transmitted diseases, and build each other’s confidence. DDU also presented the best experience in the implementation of gender mainstreaming guidelines. The guidelines were developed based on the gender equality and women empowerment roadmap which was developed with the support of MSM in 2018. Moreover, following the suggestion from the Gender Based Violence (GBV) workshop on December 2021, HU’s health college initiated a system-based approach toward the complex nature of GBV.

Among the key challenges of integrating gender in the medical curriculum was the lack of motivation from male staff to teach the course and the course loads in the medical schools. Besides, the complexity of the teaching hospital's structure and subjective evaluation of the clinical teaching perpetuated sexual harassment cases. It also makes reporting harassment incidents difficult for the victims. Male health professionals' little involvement in gender equality and women empowerment initiatives was also among the key challenges raised by the workshop participants.

Finally, the participants made ways forward to overcome the challenges. Accordingly, the suggestions indicate the need for integrated strategies to ensure structural changes by addressing the interconnected layers of gender inequality issues in teaching hospitals.

MSM's Expert Centre on Emerging Economies

This project is part of MSM's Expert Centre for Emerging Economies. The department is an expert centre on local economic development in emerging and developing markets.‚Äč We capacitate managers and professionals from government, private sector, NGOs, and post-secondary education in Africa, Asia, Middle East, and Latin America. We offer consultancy and customized training programs, and we manage complex projects in key sectors, e.g. water, agriculture and health. For more information click here.

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