The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia has an estimated population of 84.9 million (UN, 2010). The capital is Addis Ababa. Ethiopia has an area of 1.13 million sq km (437,794 sq miles). The main languages are Amharic, Oromo, Tigrinya, and Somali.
Ethiopia is considered to be Africa’s oldest country. Apart from a brief occupation by Italy under Fascist leader Benito Mussolini from 1936-1941, Ethiopia is unique among African countries because it has never been colonized. Wide-scale drought, famine, war and massive refugee problems plagued the country in the 1970s and 1980s. After the independence of Eritrea in 1993, bad border demarcation led to a war between Eritrea and Ethiopia, which was ended in 2000 with a peace treaty.
In 1995, the constitution of Ethiopia adopted equal rights for men and women in every sphere of life. Despite the government efforts for gender equality, little attention is being given to promoting women's participation within the community. Men dominate political, decision-making and leadership positions. Women have limited access to education.