UN Women Ethiopia Country Office (ECO) works to support national and local efforts in the acceleration of progress toward gender equality and women empowerment, while also advocating for systematic integration of gender-focused approaches within various sectors of organizations.

Aligned to the global, and regional initiatives and country priorities, UN Women Ethiopia Country Office (ECO) strategic note (2021-2025) is devoted to creating economic opportunities for women and strengthening women's economic institutions. UN Women underscores that economically empowering women is a key strategy to realize women’s rights and achieve gender equality.  It strongly believes that investing in women’s economic empowerment sets the stage for greater gender equality, poverty eradication, and inclusive economic growth. ECO specifically reaches out to those women most in need, often by engaging with grassroots, civil society organizations, and government partners. It gives particular attention to marginalized groups, including rural women, migrant domestic workers, women in micro and small enterprises, and low-skilled women and girls to earn decent incomes, improved access to and control over resources, a reliable market, and greater security. To this end, it facilitates enabling environments and enhancing women’s access to financial and non-financial services, promoting climate-smart agriculture and agribusiness practices.

Creating decent employment has become a serious challenge to Ethiopia and the formal sector hardly absorbs new job seekers in the labour force. The problem is more serious among women with a relatively higher unemployment rate (11.7%) than males (5.0%).  Consequently, females have a lower employment rate (50.2%) compared to men (69%). The self-employment sector which accounts for a large proportion of employment (59.6%) tends to employ 10% more proportion of males. Contrarily, females (45.3%) 

predominantly engaged in unpaid work compared to men (30.4%). In developing economies, SMEs contribute to addressing a wide range of problems including unemployment, inequality, low productivity, and exclusion from the global market in value chains. It provides employment opportunities for the low-income, poor, and women due to its small capital and skill requirement to start a business. In Ethiopia, the Micro and Small Enterprises (SMEs) sector accounts for 98 percent of the businesses while microenterprises comprise 96 percent of the overall businesses. SMEs are classified based on the types of enterprise sectors, number of human power, and total assets owned. There are an estimated 800,000 microenterprises, 12,000 small enterprises, and 8,000 medium-sized enterprises in Ethiopia. In Ethiopia, women own less than 20 percent of SMEs.

Women's entrepreneurship is often seen as an important strategy for reducing poverty and economic empowerment. Investing in women's entrepreneurship can contribute to the achievement of economic and social development objectives. Developing entrepreneurship among females contributes to the achievement of multiple SDGs, including SDG : “End poverty in all its forms everywhere”; SDG . “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture”; SDG . Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls; SDG 8: “Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all”; and SDG 10: “Reduce inequality within and among countries. 

The Ethiopian government underscores the explicit role to be played by the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sector in laying the foundation for industrial development in the country, the creation of employment opportunities, and the reduction of poverty. The Sector contributes to the realization of Ethiopia’s Ten Years Perspective plan (201-2023) and is aligned with Ethiopia’s Women Development Package (2016) and Micro and Small Enterprise Development Policy & Strategy (2012). Women’s participation in SMEs is among the Key government priority areas for enterprise development as stipulated in Ethiopia’s Ten Years Perspective plan (201-203) i.e., multi-sectoral and diversified sources of growth and job opportunities, and sustainable and inclusive financial sector development. It also contributes to achieving the plan by increasing the proportion of women’s engagement and benefits from micro-enterprises from 41% to 50% and increasing women’s access to microfinance loans from 33% to 55% by the end of the plan.

Despite the multiple benefits that women-owned businesses bring to women, families, and economies, female entrepreneurs often operate their businesses in contexts of poor access to finance, skills, market, and other services/resources arising from discriminatory norms and practices. Deeply rooted discriminatory gender norms and practices, economic, social and legal and administrative factors are at the root of such gender disparities in female entrepreneurship development. Female entrepreneurs continue facing myriads of gender-specific challenges in their businesses with negative effects on their profitability and their enterprise size, undermining the potential gain from the sector. A plethora of research identified factors that determine the performance of SMEs in Ethiopia (e.g., Bekele et al, 2008; Gebrehiwot and Wolday, 2006. Jemal, 2021; Aynaddis, 2023). However, little is known about the 

effectiveness of women's businesses in the different SME ownership structures and the factors that contribute to success and failure. 

On the other hand, cooperatives are also among the key institutions that play a major role in contributing to achieving Gender Equality and the economic and social empowerment of women. There are inspiring examples from around the world of women using the cooperative business model to support themselves, their households and with greater say and meaningful representation in their communities as well as local governance. According to the Federal Cooperative Agency (FCA) Report (2014 E, C), there were about 94,821 primary cooperatives with individual membership of 23,311,005 (male 15,692,339 and 7,620,095), 395 Cooperative Unions (a secondary tier) with members of 18,583 primary cooperatives, and 5 Cooperative Federations (tertiary tier); with a total capital of 29.9 billion ETB.

Thus, it is crucial to consolidate the efforts that address these gaps and ensure sustainable economic empowerment for women and girls taking into consideration different scenarios in which they are in. To inform such consolidated efforts and coordination, putting in place a national WEE strategy is very important. Therefore, it is to develop an evidence-based national WEE strategy, that UN Women MOWSA and partners will work together supported by external consultants. To inform the development of the strategy, conducting a brief assessment of what worked well and what did not in different socio-economic contexts is very crucial.  In the process, the WEE team from UN Women, MOWSA, MOLS, CAWWE, WISE and other teams to be assigned will take an active part along with the team of consultants to come up with the document that is owned and enforced well. 



Duties and Responsibilities

The team of three consultants supervised/led by the lead consultant is expected to deliver the following:

  1. Upon recruitment, the consultant will develop an inception report that will be approved after the inception meeting. This will have a road map and detailed action plan for the entire consultancy (including a timeframe) on the assignment. The Inception Report will define the approach and methodology; study tools to be used and the framework. The inception report will be due within five (5) calendar days after the signing of the contract and its finalization will involve the incorporation of feedback from UN Women and MOWSA. The Inception report will be used to confirm a common understanding of the purpose, objectives, scope, timescales, and methodology of the assignment. It will include:
    • Overview of the assignment, purpose, and objectives,
    • Consultants’ roles and responsibilities,
    • Framework and methodology of the task including tools.
    • Information collection and analysis
    • Work plan including reporting timelines.
    • Consultants' work experience on a similar subject and context.
    • At the time of the inception report, the consultant will make a presentation detailing the salient features of the assignment at the inception meeting.
  2. A consultant will submit the draft assessment report, national WEE strategy to be implemented in different contexts,
  3.  A refined PowerPoint is expected from the consultant after the presentation at a validation workshop and consultation workshops.
  4. Based on the feedback of the stakeholders during the debriefing, validation and causation meetings and workshops, the consultant will finalize and submit the final version of the documents to UN Women. The consultant will also support external editors/definers and ensure the findings' validity and timeliness until the reports are cleared and published.
  5. The consultancy is home-based, and the consultant should not require a working space at the UN Women's office.


Core Values/guiding principles:

  • Integrity - Demonstrate consistency in upholding and promoting the values of UN Women in actions and decisions, in line with the UN Code of Conduct.
  • Professionalism - Demonstrate professional competence and Consultant knowledge of the pertinent substantive areas of work.
  • Cultural sensitivity and respect for diversity - Demonstrate an appreciation of the multicultural nature of the organization and the diversity of its staff. Additionally, each individual should have an international outlook, appreciating differences in values and learning from cultural diversity.

Core Competencies:

  • Planning & Organizing – Develops clear goals in line with agreed strategies, identifies priorities, foresees risks, and makes allowances accordingly.
  • Organizational Awareness - Demonstrate corporate knowledge and sound judgment.
  • Teamwork - Demonstrate ability to work in a multicultural, multi-ethnic environment and to maintain effective working relations with people of different national and cultural backgrounds.
  • Accountability – Takes ownership of all responsibilities and delivers outputs in accordance with agreed time, cost, and quality standards.

Required Skills and Experience


  • Minimum qualification of master’s Degree in the field of Economics and Business Administration, with expertise in the areas of Gender and Development.  
  • Under the leadership of the team leader, three experts with significant experience in diversified areas are required while at least one consultant must be female,
  • The team of experts including the lead consultant should have a complementary academic profile. 


  • Proven record of a minimum of 10 years’ experience in conducting research related to women's economic empowerment policies and strategies and interventions with proven skill in developing strategies, guidelines, policies, manuals, and related.  Thus, the lead consultant is expected to organize the required two experts/experienced professionals under his /her leadership in submitting the proposal.

Language and skill

  • The consultant needs to have excellent written and oral communication knowledge in English.
  • Computer skills: full command of Microsoft applications relevant to the assignment

Application Procedure (job 114724)

As the system only allow one attachment, applicants are required to send their technical proposal via email with a subject ‘’National Strategy’’


At UN Women, we are committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment of mutual respect. UN Women recruits, employs, trains, compensates, and promotes regardless of race, religion, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, ability, national origin, or any other basis covered by appropriate law. All employment is decided?on the basis of qualifications, competence, integrity and organizational need. 

If you need any reasonable accommodation to support your participation in the recruitment and selection process, please include this information in your application. 

UN Women has a zero-tolerance policy on conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and UN Women, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination. All selected candidates will be expected to adhere to UN Women’s policies and procedures and the standards of conduct expected of UN Women personnel and will therefore undergo rigorous reference and background checks. (Background checks will include the verification of academic credential(s) and employment history. Selected candidates may be required to provide additional information to conduct a background check.)