African Journal of
History and Culture

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Hist. Cult.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-6672
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJHC
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 192

Full Length Research Paper

Women empowerment through ‘Abegar’ in South Wollo: A critical ethnography

Rukya Hassen
  • Rukya Hassen
  • Department of Applied Linguistics, Ethiopian Civil Service University, Ethiopia.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 21 March 2017
  •  Accepted: 15 May 2017
  •  Published: 28 February 2018


It is the objective of this study to describe, explain and critically analyze the role of the traditional social practice of ‘Abegar’ to empower women in South Wollo, Ethiopia. Data were collected through participant observation, record of social events and in-depth interview. The study was conducted from April to June 2014 E.C. Five social events known as ‘Wodaja’ were recorded. The result of the study showed that females were empowered through the practice of ‘Abegar’ in Wodaja sessions. During female group prayer sessions, females assume the position of leadership which empowers them. Being ‘abegar’, they are able to do many things which were impossible otherwise. Through their discourse, the females express their power as mothers, sprit possessors, and smart personnel who are empowered to do many things which even men couldn’t. The discourse of ‘AbbÉ™garness’ (leadership) is used as an expression of power in the community. Females became leaders or ‘AbbÉ™gars’ and are empowered through ‘dua’ (prayers). 

Key words: Women, ‘abegar’, wodaja, empowerment.