Addis Ababa - Post Report Question and Answers

Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Yes to everything. - Dec 2023

There is a very large diplomatic community here, with the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa. No special factors, though persons of color may sometimes not be easily identifiable as diplomats or foreigners, and subject to more scrutiny by local security forces and police. Other foreigners get extra scrutiny for standing out as foreigners, whereas individuals of color can sometimes blend in and attract less attention. So, it goes both ways. Gender equality may not be the greatest here. - Aug 2023

I was cat-called every single day for something. "Fereng" "Corona" "China" --- I am not even of Asian descent! So many ignorant people. They love to harass foreigners. Keep your head down and ignore it all. - Aug 2022

Within Ethiopia there are definite ethic clashes, but from outsiders there isn’t much prejudice. Women typically need a man to answer for them. - Jul 2022

Yes. - May 2022

Lots of inter-communal tensions and even overt struggles between some groups. Violent protests broke out in mid-2020 and people were killed; this was not the first time. Do some reading on the Amhara, Oromo and Tigrayan struggles at a bare minimum before you arrive. - Aug 2020

Yes. They are not a unified country. They fall back to their ethnic and religious affiliations and violence is common. The country is undergoing major changes in its political sphere (becoming a democracy). These changes along with ethnic identity are the cause of very high tensions. The old guard is actively trying to stop the changes, the new groups want their piece of the pie, and those in charge cannot make the all sides happy. Several prominent Ethiopians who reside outside of the country are on social media stirring up anger. This process is taking a tole. This is why Ethiopia is not the same as it was two years ago. Women are second class citizens. - Feb 2020

I think yes to all of these. - Feb 2019

There is no gender equality in this country. Fairly religious tolerant so long as you are Christian or Muslim. - Aug 2018

I sensed that it is more like male chauvinistic society. I sensed locals were not fond of Chinese nationals. There seems to be division among local ethnic groups. - Jul 2018

Ethiopia has a lot of tribal issues. - Jan 2018

There are some tribal and religious prejudices in Ethiopia, though as a foreigner those attitudes generally do not apply to you. If you are Asian or Asian-looking you may be mistaken for Chinese, who are not always popular due to their complicated economic relationship with Africa. Ethiopian society is highly patriarchal and significant gender inequalities exist, but again, as a foreigner this does not apply to you. Catcalling on the street is no worse than in New York. - Sep 2017

Yes; Ethiopians are all part of different tribes, which has caused many deaths this past 12 months, particularly in the SW of the country. Gender issues? Definitely. I don't know how else to say this and it's not meant in any other way than to be upfront, but this is a very male-dominate society and women play a secondary role. I have heard from several Ethiopian women that they do not date Ethiopian men b/c of how they are treated. Obviously, this is anecdotal but I've seen it too (as a woman). If this sort of thing is something you cannot tolerate, think before you come here. It's not Europe or the US. It's the Horn of Africa. - Aug 2016

Yes. Very conservatively religious here. Gender equality doesn't exist here. We live in the 19th century (or earlier). - Aug 2016

Nothing major, but it's not a particularly welcoming society for outsiders. Locals can be stand-offish to downright hostile to foreigners, and it seems to be particularly bad for Asians. Even people of Ethiopian descent who have lived outside of the country too long tell stories about being treated badly by locals. - Feb 2016

Some ethnic issues between the different groups and there seems to be a concerted effort by the government to control the preaching of Muslim imams. The overall culture is proudly Ethiopian Orthodox so anything outside of that is viewed as foreign. - May 2014

Under the surface and in some regions. Generally not an issue for expats. Women sometimes get harassed by local men. Every once in a while someone will approach your car and do something lewd or inappropriate. - Jan 2014

Women are definitely second-class citizens here -- even to the point that our male Ethiopian household staff would not listen to my (foreign) wife. They preach religious tolerance here but the practice is different. The Muslim population is frequently persecuted. - Nov 2013

Not noticed openly. - Jun 2012

Ethiopians are generally quite warm to all, though there are latent prejudices in abundance. No surprise there, though. No worse than anywhere else I've traveled. - Aug 2010

There is great religious tolerance. Ethnic tensions (among Ethiopian ethnicities) definitely exist, but are often below-the-radar in professional and social life in Addis. - Jun 2010

Ethiopians are pretty tolerant of all religions and there's much diversity here. Also, they aren't prejudiced against whites. As for gender prejudice, it's a male-dominated society. But women are allowed to work, drive, go to school, etc. - Mar 2008


Subscribe to our newsletter

New book from Talesmag! Honest and courageous stories of life abroad with special needs.

Read More