Ethiopia: Women Army Members Cherish Political, Military Leaderships in Adwa Victory


Ethiopians had been fighting just wars to defend their country’s independence against successive foreign aggressions. The fight against Italian invaders is a peculiar example in this regard.

The very first decisive victory of a black African power, Adwa, is an important event in the shared memory of the entire African population. It demonstrated the spirit of unity, love and friendship among Ethiopians and has shown the genuine role of women.

The victory of Adwa has been highly attributed to the arduous efforts of Ethiopia’s sons and daughters in all circumstances. The victory is undoubtedly the pride of Ethiopia as well as Africa as it has contributed a lot to the freedom and independence of all black people.

This is not out of the blue as a number of African counties, which were under the severe yoke of oppression of colonizers, had declared their independence following the victory of Adwa–he remarkable footsteps of Ethiopia.

This write would like to jot down the words of women army members about Adwa Victory, their contribution to all national sovereignty aspects and experiences they drawn from foremothers.

The first woman named Brigadier General Shewaye Haile spoke of the role of women in the army in relation to the double responsibility they have shouldered.

“Women played the leading role behind the victory of Adwa in preparing food and water, providing medical care for the wounded and following the solders shouldering the slogan of “freedom or death,” she cited.

She said that women are ready all the time to safeguard the sovereignty of their country and the wellbeing of fellow citizens of the nation. “It goes without saying that wars of all sorts bring destruction to human and material wealth.

Of course, the degree of devastation varies depending on the nature of the wars, areas of fighting, arms used, duration of fighting, etc. obviously, the internal wars and defensive wars against successive foreign aggressors have left their multi-dimensional impact on the social, cultural, economic and political life of the Ethiopian society.

Even though they did not take a vanguard position in major combats, the Ethiopian women had their share of the burden of wars,” she said.

According to Brigadier General Shewaye, prominent women of the royalty ones such as Empress Taitu had been reported to have played decisive roles in military affairs such as tactically advising leaders, provoking and ending wars as well as leading their army into battles.

She added that the number of such women for which we have documentation is very small, but the role they played was tremendous. Such women actively involved themselves in power struggle, promotions and demotions of officials, securing power and wealth for themselves and their relatives, using their position in relation to emperors or during their guardian roles.

According to Shewaye, unity and fraternity matter the most in overcoming and being victorious over any enmity of the country. The victory of Adwa has been the clear manifestation of Ethiopians bravery, unity and courageous move all the time and at any circumstance particularly when it comes to the sovereignty of their respected nation.

“We all have to start thinking about the contribution we have made for our country saying ‘What did I do for my country? Basically, all citizens of the country have to move in unison and in a sense of fraternity to be victorious over any challenging facing the nation. Especially they young generation has to develop sense of patriotism, sense belongingness, unity, love, respecting one another, among others,” said Brigadier General Shewaye.

As to her, the army is a segment of the society that has shouldered a responsibility of prioritizing the nation and the population. Not only has Adwa been a lifetime emblem of Ethiopia but it has also been that of the whole continent of Africa.

Lieutenant Colonel Emamir Ayalew on her part said women are farsighted, clever and committed to discharge any responsibility imposed upon them, are not in a position to violate others rights and get people well respected. When it comes to a woman soldier the responsibility becomes double even tripled since they have started thinking about their country, their pole and themselves including family members.

The other female army member from whom this writer has taken words is Colonel Huluagersh Dires. Women who participated in the battle of Adwa and came up with a shining victory have been, continue to be, our role models and we have been shaped with their courageous spirit, gallant gesture and sympathetic approach.

“We are real ambassadors of our country apart from being a lifetime savior of it from external and internal aggressors. We have drawn a range of lessons from Adwa.

For example, our foremothers had fought courageously and advised army officials in a proper manner and strategic fighting of course along with a number of patriots to help the nation garner the shinning victory of which generation after generation has to be proud,” she said.

On the other hand, she stated our country is the first one in deploying women army members in peacekeeping missions in various counties of the world. Be that as it may, we are always successful in effectively meeting our mission because we all the time march with strong winning spirit, bravery, patriotic move and full responsibility.

Customarily, she said, wars were mainly fought by men. Various factors, such as biological and social, mitigated the degree of the involvement of women in war in traditional societies. However, these factors did not exclude women from warfare.

Above all, in a country such as Ethiopia, the role of women was quite significant. In peacetime, for example, women glorified valor and patriotism through their reverence for brave warriors. Hence, both in women and men aspects, the role Ethiopia has been playing in peeking and warfare is always internationally commemorated.

“For instance, I took part in Northern Sudan–Darfur–and were effectively discharging all what we had been given as a mission. When anyone first is recruited to be a soldier, their prime task should be telling themselves that their prime priority has to be their country and their citizens. We don’t care about being party affiliated or serving a single party of government body as we all should belong to the country and the general public,” she said.