Measuring the Effectiveness of Affirmative Action in Female Students’ Regular Undergraduate University Enrolment in Ethiopia


  • Enguday Ademe Associate Professor (Ph.D), Department of Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education and Behavioral Studies, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia


Affirmative Action, Female, Merit-based, Undergraduate Enrolment, University


Studies in the Ethiopian context present qualitative descriptions of the contribution of Affirmative Action (AA) in enhancing females’ enrolment in higher education institutions. What is missing in these documents is the quantitative evidence to augment their arguments. This study aimed at examining the quantitative effectiveness of AA in female students’ regular undergraduate enrolment in government universities of Ethiopia. It was quantitative in its approach. The first-year enrolment data of both sexes and enrolment data of female students (totally admitted, admitted through merit, and admitted through AA), eight years before and after the implementation of AA were collected from the available documents. Data were analysed using counts, means, and percentages. The findings revealed that the regular undergraduate female students’ enrolment has increased after the implementation of AA (from 14.4% before AA to 39.8% after AA). Of this increase, 30.7% was due to merit-based admission and 9.04% was attributed to AA. Much of the increase in female enrolment has resulted from merit-based admissions while the impact of AA was concluded to be modest (22.7% of the total female undergraduate enrolment after AA), implying that at least one in five females were registered through AA measures. It is recommended that the implementation of AA has to continue and its contribution has to increase so that gender equity in the sector can be improved.