According to a study conducted by Food for the Hungry (FH), in some areas of Ethiopia, as many as 60 percent of women believe that a husband is justified in beating his wife if she burns food or argues with him.
Forty-four percent of women feel that denying sex is a justifiable reason for a man to beat his wife, indicating that respondents generally accept violence as part of the male-family relationship.
This spring, FH is launching a series of comic books in partnership with Search for Common Ground (SFCG), as a continuation of a larger scale, four-year campaign to reduce gender-based violence and promote healthier gender relationships.
The comic books, a popular media in Ethiopia, will be distributed to several communities where FH and SFCG have been working. Concrete, understandable illustrations of improved gender relations and practices tell stories of local men and women who overcome obstacles with non-violent communication.
Ethiopian women play key roles in the economy, but are often excluded from decision-making positions, contributing to gender inequalities in nutrition, labor, education, fundamental rights and food security.
“For example, the burden of collecting water and fuel for the household falls on girls. This pays a toll on girls both physically and socially, and reduces girls’ school attendance, limiting their future opportunities,” said Tom LePage, FH/Ethiopia Country Director.
Several illustrations and posters are already in use in community gender discussions and are similar to those that will be in the comic books.
“I always ask discussion participants if they have seen a change in the behavior of their children after practicing mutual respect and dialogue between husband and wife,” said LePage after witnessing four gender-discussions in Amhara, Ethiopia. “I was glad to hear how the boys are respecting their mom and sisters more and even helping them in their (formerly) girl chores around the house.”
This is just one of the innovative ways that Food for the Hungry is working with partners like you to make a difference in the lives of people around the world.