These Portraits of Ethiopian Women Showcase Strength and Bravery


Temsalet: Phenomenal Ethiopian Women, a new book from Tsehai Publishersis a collection of inspiring stories and beautiful photographic portraits of 64 phenomenal contemporary Ethiopian women who have broken through age-old barriers to advance in their fields. Each woman tells her own story—where she came from, what challenges she faced, what helped her succeed, what inspires her, and what thoughts she has for girls and young women growing up today. They come from a broad array of fields of endeavor and range in age from their 20s to their 90s. 

Edited and compiled by Mary-Jane Wagle with photography by Aida Muluneh, Temsalet is a project of the Network of Ethiopian Women’s Associations, working to advance women’s equality and women’s rights in Ethiopia, and is published by Tsehai Publishers and The Marymount Institute Press of Los Angeles, California. In addition to the women’s stories, Temsalet features a foreword by First Lady Roman Tesfaye and an essay on women in Ethiopian history by Rita Pankhurst.

Below, see portraits of eight inspiring women.


Alemtsehay Wedajo Goshu: Actress, playwright, poet and advocate for the arts

“Have faith, dream high, be strong, and never quit!”


Captain Amsale Gualu Endegnanew: Airline captain

“You can definitely conquer professions that are dominated by men. Why not become a pilot or even a prime minister? Anything is possible!”


Derartu Tulu Gemechu: World championship athlete and businesswoman

“What makes me happiest about what I have been able to achieve is that my gold medal at the Barcelona Olympics really opened a new chapter for women in athletics in this country.”


Dr. Mehila Zebenigus Wuhib: Neurologist and internist

“The best moments of my work are when I’m with my patients, treating them and talking with them. As soon as I wake up every morning, I am eager to get back to them.”


Emahoy Tsegue Mariam Guebru: Nun, pianist and composer

“Fame doesn’t interest me; fame is for young people. I just want my music not to be lost and to be shared with others.”


Meaza Birru Gebrewold: Print/radio Journalist and media entrepreneur

“My favorite four hours each week are the ones I get to spend recording my own programs, ‘Guest of Chewata’ on Saturday afternoon and ‘Sheger Cafe’ on Sunday mornings.”


Nuria Abdullahi Jami: Member of regional Parliament, public servant and activist for women

“Working outside my home was very important for me. I found my sense of purpose as I began to be more involved in the community, helping other women with their problems.”


Yetnebersh Nigussie Molla: Lawyer, entrepreneur and activist for inclusion

“All the problems that I have faced have made me stronger. My greatest desire is to demonstrate to society the strength and capability of those who are disabled.”