Global Norms and Violence Against Women in Ethiopia


Project summary This project (GLOW) studies the role of global norms in development. It does so through a case study of the global norm on the elimination of violence against women (VAW) in Ethiopia. The norm was originally phrased in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination of Women (CEDAW) in 1979 and has been reiterated in two targets (5.2 and 5.3) of the SDG 5 on Gender equality and women’s empowerment. A significant argument in the academic literature is that global norms need to resonate with local norms in order to be accepted in local communities. This implies that global norms cannot induce significant social change. GLOW analyses the extent to which politics and actors may mediate between global and local norms enabling social change towards the global norm. Ethiopia is particularly suited for this study because (i)VAW is a widespread challenge in the country, (ii) the government and religious authorities have strongly condemned VAW making the elimination of VAW a national priority, and (iii) Ethiopia is a significant member of regional organisations like IGAD and AU which often actively engage in norm production and diffusion. GLOW is organised around 4 work packages. The first addresses the role of VAW in national politics in Ethiopia and seeks to explain how it has become a national political priority. The second studies the relationship between development projects and local communities in relation to VAW to understand the conditions enabling social change towards the elimination of VAW. The third focuses on Ethiopia’s efforts to influence global norm production on VAW to understand Ethiopia’s official views on the norm. The fourth involves various activities to strengthen research and policy dissemination capacity.