What were the Martha and March 8 Schools?During the 1975-1991 Ethiopian civil war, two schools were founded in northern Tigray to improve and empower the lives of girls and women.
They were, respectively, the Martha and March 8 schools.According to the online essay, “Female Education in Tigray, Ethiopia,” Jeanett Wilberg writes, “One of the most significant characteristics of the war was the female participation. Monuments were raised and poems and songs were made about their involvement in the war.”
Citing the book Peasant Revolution in Ethiopia: The Tigray People’s Liberation Front, 1975-1991:
“Although women were not at first welcomed as fighters into the TPLF, by 1982 the Front claimed that one-third of the fighers were women, it being recognised that the term “fighter” referred to a range of positions and not just those involved in combat. Involvement of women as fighters, and particularly in combat, was held to demonstrate that women were equally as capable as men. In recognition that women were equal in law but not in practice, the second Congress of the TPLF established two schools, the March 8 School, whose membership included both peasant women and fighters, and Martha School, whose students were restricted to women fighters.”