In its 2011 response to CEDAW, Ethiopia reported that it had drafted a national plan to combat violence against women and children. Domestic violence is a crime under the Criminal Code, which, under Articles 555-560, applies to a person who “by doing violence to a marriage partner or a person cohabitating in an irregular union, causes grave or common injury to his/her physical or mental health”.However, it is unclear what the punishments are for offenders, or how this law is implemented in practice.
The male/female sex ratio for the working age population in 2013 is 0.96 while the sex ratio at birth is 1.03. There is no evidence to suggest that Ethiopia is a country of concern in relation to missing women.
Women’s ownership rights are limited in Ethiopia. Since 1997, reforms have improved access to land by stipulating that women have the right to lease land from the government, a right also granted in the Federal Constitution. Ethiopian law presumes joint or communal property as the default regime, and married couples may acquire and title land jointly. As a result, according to the latest Demographic and Health Survey (DHS), women and men are equally likely to own land, either alone (50%) or jointly (51%). However, it is frequently the case that women’s only chance to access land is through marriage. Women who separate from their husbands are likely to lose their houses and property, and when a husband dies, other family members often claim the land over his widow. The 2005 DHS reports that 20% of widows reported being dispossessed of their land.
Freedom of movement is restricted in certain parts of Ethiopia on account of national security concerns. There do not appear to be any legal restrictions specifically on women’s freedom of access to public space; however, some women may face restrictions on a day-to-day basis: of women surveyed in the 2011 Demographic and Health Survey, 78% of women have sole or joint decision-making power about visiting family or friends.