UN Women

National Consultant (Undertake National Study on The Implementation of Affirmative Action Measures)

UN Women

Job Description

  The promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women is on the national agenda in Ethiopia where the commitment of the government to promote these values and principles is evidenced by the country’s endorsement of significant international and regional human rights instruments including the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW, 1979), International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR, 1977) Beijing Declaration Platform for Action (BDPFA 1995), Millennium Development Goals (MDGs 2000) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs 2015), The African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR), the Maputo Protocol (2003) among others.  To ensure the realization of human rights guaranteed under these normative frameworks, Ethiopia has taken several measures including the adoption of various normative frameworks at the national level: The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE) Constitution (1995), National Policy on Women (1993), National Action Plan on Gender Equality( 2006), the Revised Family Law(2000), the Criminal Code(2005),  GTP I,GTP II and currently Ethiopia’s 10 year perspective plan all address gender inequalities and violation of civil and human rights of women. In the bid to strengthen the implementation of these policy and legal frameworks the recently promulgated Proclamation No.1097/2018 gave the duty to ensure that policies, laws, development programs and projects formulated as part of the mandate of each executive organ benefit women, among other social groups.

While the adoption of policy and legislative measures indicate the effort to secure women’s right in Ethiopia; the Global Gender Gap report 2020 shows Ethiopia stands at 82nd place out of 153 countries covered by the report.  While the county managed to move up due to significant improvement in women’s political participation that came about after the reform that started in 2018, the fact that the changes are not uniform for the entire nation and that high political commitment that resulted in the same makes the gains made in this regard susceptible to reversal. Also, gender equality and empowerment of women in the country is still progressing at a slow pace compared to the plethora of very conducive normative frameworks. As emphasized in the Beijing Platform for action the gap between the de jure and de facto or the right as against the reality of women’s participation in politics and public life generally is a critical matter. The global standard is that for women to hold from 30-35 percent (generally termed a ‘critical mass’) to ensure they have real impact on political style and content of decision made at the highest positions of power. This percentage is expected to be achieved at all leadership positions and not in selected branches of government or level of Administration. In order to achieve broad representation in public life, women must have full equality in the exercise of political and economic power; they must be fully and equally involved in decision-making at all levels  so that they may make their contribution to the goals of equality, development and the achievement of peace. A gender perspective is critical if these goals are to be met and if true democracy is to be assured. Women’s full participation is essential not only for their empowerment but also for the advancement of society as a whole.

One of the measures adopted at national level to bridge the gap between the de jure (legal) and de facto (substantive) equality between men and women and ensure that women are in a position to enjoy their human rights and fundamental freedoms is constitutionalizing the principle of Temporary Special Measures (TSM) or affirmative action. The FDRE Constitution Article 35 (3), taking into account the historical legacy of inequality and discrimination suffered by women in Ethiopia, states that women are entitled to affirmative measures. The article underlines that the purpose of such measures is to provide special attention to women to enable them to compete and participate based on equality with men in political, social, and economic life as well as in public and private institutions. Article 4 of CEDAW provides definition for what temporary special measures entail. While Article 4(1) states that temporary special measures aimed at accelerating de facto equality between men and women shall not be considered discriminatory, Article 4(2) states that special measures including those measures aimed at protecting maternity should also not be considered discriminatory. International Human Rights instruments adopted by Ethiopia being part of the law of the land as per article 13 of the FDRE constitution, definitions and elements of affirmative action as enshrined in CEDAW also applies to the Ethiopian normative context. The below four characters are embedded in the nature of TSM as illustrated under CEDAW’s general recommendation no 25(1).

  • Broad scope: TSMs should aim to accelerate the equal participation of women indicating that TSMs apply to many areas including political and economic participation of women.
  • Temporary character: TSMs “must be discontinued when their desired results have been achieved and sustained for a period of time” hence state parties should "clearly distinguish" between TSMs and other social policies implemented to improve the situation of women.
  • Diversity of measures: The term "measures" encompasses a wide variety of legislative, executive, administrative and other regulatory instruments, policies and practices, such as outreach or support programmes; allocation and/or reallocation of resources; preferential treatment; targeted recruitment, hiring and promotion; numerical goals connected with time frames; and quota systems.
  • Context-specificity: “The choice of a particular "measure" will depend on the context and on the specific goal it aims to achieve”. TSMs should be designed, explained, evaluated and reported upon according to the special context setting concrete targets. There is no "one-size fits all" approach to TSMs.
Affirmative Action/Temporary Special Measures in Ethiopia

The adoption of affirmative action policies in Ethiopia has brought  significant progress for women in politics, with women’s representation in the federal cabinet level rising 50 percent and regional parliament reached to 40 percent. Nonetheless, the implementation of affirmative action in Ethiopia has faced several structural and capacity challenges. Problems including lack of awareness about concept of affirmative actions and implementing mechanisms, lack of uniform enforcement mechanisms and implementation modalities across the different structures at both federal and regional level are some of the challenges. Also, the lack of clear definition at national level for the constitutional provision of affirmative action when it comes to various walks of life including women’s political participation has been reported as a major gap in a recent study conducted by Ministry of Women, Children and Youth (MoWCY) in collaboration with UN Women under the title ‘The status of women in leadership in Ethiopia at the legislative, judiciary and executive branch of the government’.

The study highlighted challenges in the uniform implementation of affirmative action in the country including lack of clear definition as mentioned earlier, lack of accountability mechanism in the implementation of affirmative action and backlash against affirmative action specially by men. In general studies in other countries also show similar challenges in terms of the implementation of affirmative action including resistance and contestation over affirmative action, challenges with implementation and accountability and lack of public policy commitment. The Ministry of Women, Children and Youth is the government body that has the power and duty to promote gender equality and empowerment of women where it is explicitly mandated to undertake the following: […] devise means for the proper application of women's right to affirmative action guaranteed at the national level and follow up the implementation of same […] On the other hand, UN Women’s vision is of a world in which women and men have equal opportunities and capacities, where women are empowered and where principles of gender equality are firmly embedded in all efforts to advance development, peace and security. Globally, UN Women works to make the vision of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) a reality for women and girls and stands behind women’s equal participation in all aspects of life, focusing on five priority areas: women lead, participate in and benefit equally from governance systems; women have income security, decent work and economic autonomy; all women and girls live a life free from all forms of violence and ensure that women and girls contribute to and have greater influence in building sustainable peace and resilience, and benefit equally from the prevention of natural disasters and conflicts and Humanitarian Action. In Ethiopia, UN Women is working on four priority areas: increasing women’s leadership and governance, ending violence against women and girls; enhancing women’s economic empowerment; and making gender equality central to national Development Planning and budgeting.

In line with its mandate, and in collaboration with UN Women, MoWCY has planned to undertake a study that will serve as a baseline and respond to concerns raised in the findings of the status of women in leadership study with regards to the implementation of affirmative action measures in Ethiopia as enshrined in the FDRE Constitution.

Duties and Responsibilities

Objectives of the study

Drawing its base from FDRE Constitution article 35 (3) and MoWCY’s mandate to devise means towards the proper application of affirmative action measures and follow up on its implementation, the national study will have the below objectives with a view to be used as an Analysis that can set an agenda for affirmative actions in Ethiopia:
  • Assess the implementation status of affirmative action measures in the country;
  • Identify critical issues, challenges and lessons learnt from affirmative action measures already implemented;
  • Identify international best practices and lessons learned in promoting affirmative action measures to achieve gender equality and empowerment of women particularly in relation to empowering women in leadership and decision making;
  • Identify prospects and entry points to promote affirmative action measures in Ethiopia by way of recommendations;
  • Develop advocacy and campaign strategy to tackle behavioral related challenge to effective implementation of affirmative action.
Geographic and thematic scope of the study

The study is expected to be conducted at national level (covering both federal and regional levels) where the focus will be on affirmative action measures in economic, social and political spheres. The thematic scope has been justified by the fact that for women to come to in every sphere of social, economic and political arena, their life must improve in all aspects. The study is also expected to cover both federal and regional level governance systems. This should further be elaborated in the technical proposal.

Main Activities

  • Prepare an inception report: the inception report should detail the consultant/s understanding of what the consultancy work is aiming to achieve and why; core tasks and proposed methods to carry out the tasks; proposed sources of data, sampling techniques, Data Collection procedures together with Data Analysis techniques, proposed schedule of tasks, activities and deliverables. The consultant/s should present the inception report for UN Women and MoWCY feedback.
  • Draft assessment of the implementation of affirmative action in Ethiopia submitted for UN Women and MoWCY.
  • Incorporate comment and submit second draft for first round validation workshop with government counterparts.
  • Incorporate comment from the first-round validation workshop and present the same during a second-round validation workshop with larger group of key stakeholders.
  • Incorporate the feedback provided by stakeholders and submit the final report to UN Women and MoWCY.
Expected Outcomes of the Study   

The following are the expected outcomes of the study
  • A comprehensive report on the implementation of affirmative action at the national and regional level in Ethiopia in economic, social and political spheres.
  • Tailored recommendations to strategize the nationwide implementation of affirmative actions as envisioned by the Constitution and Ethiopia’s international commitments to women’s human rights; to inform policy directions, implementation strategies and set up accountability mechanism.
  • Draft advocacy and campaigning strategy to promote effective implementation of affirmative action measures in Ethiopia.
 Development of the report 

The report will be developed by a team of national consultants. Assigned staff members of UN Women will be responsible for overseeing the overall development of the report in collaboration with a focal person from MoWCY.  UN Women in collaboration with MoWCY will be responsible to invite and convene consultation sessions.


  1. Competencies
  • Substantive knowledge and understanding of gender and development, empowering women in leadership and decision making
  • A proven track record in designing and conducting analyses that use participatory methods
  • Experience in conducting quantitative and qualitative data analysis and synthesizing information into concise, analytical written documents.
  • Demonstrated skill and knowledge on application of   social science statistical  package(SPSS, STATA,   and  Simple and advanced regression  econometrics  models
  • Knowledge about/ familiarity with the governance structure of the country and strata of leadership position
  • Ability to carry out gender focused research and analysis that are able to contribute to the formulation of policies, procedures and guidelines on gender equality and the empowerment of women.
  • Ability to conceptualize and analyze problems and to identify key issues and underlying action-oriented recommendation.
  • Ability to establish and maintain productive relationships with partners and other stakeholder’s and responds positively to critical feedback and differing points of view.
  • Strong background in participatory approaches and facilitation.
  • Ability to produce well-written documents demonstrating excellent interpersonal communication skills.

Required Skills and Experience


  • Advanced university degree (Master's degree or equivalent) in Law, Gender Studies, Human Rights, Political Science and international relation, Development study, Sociology, Social work,   Economics,     or relevant field and/or equivalent practical experience.
Years of Experience

  • A minimum of 7 years of relevant experience in development work and particularly on issues of women’s empowerment
Language and other skills:          

  • Excellent knowledge of written and oral communication in English and Amharic, including the ability to set out a coherent argument in presentations and group interactions.
  • Track record working closely with government stakeholders
  • Computer skills: full command of Microsoft applications (word, excel, PowerPoint) and data encoding software’s.
  • UN Women Personal History form (P-11) can be downloaded from http://www.unwomen.org/en/about-us/employment

Technical Proposal


  • Five to seven-page methodology i.e. clear, scientific, and achievable including the understanding of the project work.  (the full methodology will form part of inception report if the applicant is selected)
Financial Proposal


  • Professional fee for 30 Working days (All-inclusive consultancy fee)
  • Cost implication for Field works
  • Interested individuals are kindly requested to submit an all-inclusive consultancy fee against deliverables.
It addtion to online appliction, Technical and Finacial proposal  should be sent to ethiopia.public@unwomen.org with a subject 'Undertake National Study on the Implementation of Affirmative Action Measures in Ethiopia'  until latest  18 March 2021.

UNWOMEN is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence
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