In this article, Asgedet Stefanos examines women and education in the east African nation of Eritrea. She tackles as her central questions whether, and to what extent, Eritrean women have been achieving emancipation; and, if so, what role education has played in that process. Stefanos begins by providing a historical overview that delineates Eritrean women's general social condition and access to education in pre-colonial traditional society and during the eras of Italian and British colonialism. She then evaluates developments during Eritrea's protracted national liberation struggle against Ethiopia and the four years since independence. Stefanos documents significant advances in the emancipation of women and highlights education as a vital arena for change. She observes shortcomings in the Eritrean political leadership's strategy to establish effective educational equity for women, as well as disparities between the goals and assessments of policymakers and the aspirations and experiences of women. Her discussion of contemporary Eritrea is informed by policies and commentary of political leaders and interviews with a diverse sample of Eritrean women. Stefanos concludes by asserting that the current situation confronting an independent Eritrea promotes new obstacles and challenges to a vigorous pursuit of female rights and gender equality, and that the prospects for expanding women's gains in education are very much in the balance.

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