Everybody grew up with an idol to look up to; it was either an action figure, an actor/actress, a singer, a famous painter or just anybody they though they could relate and look up to. Growing up my mom used to read me fascinating stories about Ethiopia’s history but the one that stuck with me the most was the amazing story of Etege Taitu Bitul or also known as the wife of Emperor Menelik II. Etege Taitu Bitul was one of the most exceptional women in history, not just in Ethiopia but also in the world. The biggest war my country had faced was the colonial battle with Italy; Taitu played a crucial role in this war. She was responsible for a number of tactical and strategic level decisions in addition to actually leading her army into battle on more than one occasion. It’s not a hidden fact that women in 3rd world countries aren’t given as much opportunities as the men.
Although I was fortunate enough to have educated parents who have given me the best they can, inequality amongst our genders has been and still is a visible hindering factor in our society. The respect of women in such a male dominant world didn’t stop Taitu. She held her own, commanded an army and played a crucial role in maintaining our countries independence. Ethiopia was the only country in Africa that was not colonized by a foreign nation and even helped other African countries to strive for their independence. For me it isn’t an action figure an actor/actress or a famous painter that inspires me. It is Taitu; a brave, daring, motivated, courageous women who fought not for herself but for her country’s freedom.
She led an army by her self in very unfavorable conditions and achieved what she wanted; she achieved freedom. And I look up to her with pride. She is a true depiction of what a woman is. She didn’t care that people didn’t think much of women, she knew what she was capable of and her confidence was what made all the men follow her to battle and put their lives in her hands. That is what I strive for, to be the commander of my own kind of army, an army of courageous women who will always fight for what is right, for the good of the society and to finally tighten the gap seen between our genders.