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Abstract

In assessing the post-independence status of women in Eritrea, I want to pose two questions. First, how did the leadership of the national liberation movement, the Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF), embark on promoting women's emancipation, given the attitudes firmly rooted in the minds of both men and women that ran counter to the idea of an emancipated woman? Secondly, what changes were established in Eritrean women's public and personal lives during the national liberation struggle — in politics, economics, and the social realm?

This is an excerpt of the speech delivered by Asgedet Stefanos at the 20th Anniversary of the National Union of Eritrean Women (NUEW) in Asmara, Eritrea on November 28, 1999. The Union was founded in 1979 with the primary purpose of political mobilization and raising political consciousness among Eritrean women during the fight for independence. After independence, NUEW became a non-governmental organization with the primary responsibility of mass mobilization of women into public life and provision of services for women.

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