Blogs/ >

How families are overcoming gender inequity so more girls can go to school

POSTED March 28, 2022

How families are overcoming gender inequity so more girls can go to school

A change in the division of household tasks is giving girls a better opportunity to learn and thrive in rural Ethiopia

By Aynalem Abraham, country director, Ethiopia

Girl looks up, taking a break from her homework

Gender inequality doesn’t just manifest in a girl’s possessions. It begins with her time. 

In fact, UNICEF reports 39 percent of Ethiopia’s girls, five to 17 years old, are involved in child labour, which includes unpaid housework.

Indeed, this burden on women and girls extends to many families in rural and urban Ethiopia, however, the practice in one of our program communities in a sub-city of Addis Ababa shows how the challenge can be more pronounced rurally.

In our program village, it’s common for girls to shoulder the majority of the responsibility of domestic chores such as fetching water, cleaning house and caring for younger siblings. Some families keep the eldest daughter out of school entirely to help with child care and daily housework.

That’s why Children Believe, with support from our implementing partners, is promoting girls’ education and leading action-oriented community conversations to spur change.

In the past year, more than 18,000 guardians and community members joined discussions about parenting and the importance of education, including the value of providing children with time to do homework.

Mother with her two daughters sit together

The goal is to help parents understand why reducing their daughter’s workload at home can change her future (and theirs) through education. Many — like a family I met recently — are examples to others in the community about what’s possible when traditional gender roles are revisited.

“I am grateful to Children Believe, and its partner Alem Children Support Organization, for their continuous awareness-raising activities on gender equality and child development that changed our attitude and practices,” attested Nunu, the wife of the family I met.

Nunu continued, explaining how her life has changed: “My husband helps me do household chores. We usually make decisions jointly. His support enabled us to give time for our daughter, Mahilet, to study and do her school assignments.” The proud mom adds: “[Mahilet] stood first in Grade 3,” with a 98.9 percent grade-point average.

Mahilet appreciates how her role at home has changed for the better. “I used to help my mother with chores, but lately my mom and dad give me time to study and encourage me to focus on my education,” said the 10-year-old who’s now in Grade 4.

We’re hearing from the community how this strategy has changed the attitude and behaviour of parents, narrowing the gender gap and creating more supportive school environments.

You can help support more gender equality through education in Ethiopia by sponsoring a child. Learn more today.

Sharing is caring:


Children Believe works globally to empower children to dream fearlessly, stand up for what they believe in — and be heard. For 60+ years, we’ve brought together brave young dreamers, caring supporters and partners, and unabashed idealists. Together, we’re driven by a common belief: creating access to education — inside and outside of classrooms — is the most powerful tool children can use to change their world.

About ChildFund Alliance:

A member of ChildFund Alliance, Children Believe is part of a global network of child-focused development organizations working to create opportunities for children and youth, their families and communities. ChildFund helps nearly 23-million children and their families in 70 countries overcome poverty and underlying conditions that prevent children from achieving their full potential. We work to end violence against children; provide expertise in emergencies and disasters to ease the harmful impact on children and their communities; and engage children and youth to create lasting change and elevate their voices in decisions that affect their lives.

Skip to content