Gender Roles and the Society’s Perception of Women in Macha Oromo Verbal Arts: A Feminist Approach

No Thumbnail Available



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Addis Ababa University


The principal objective of this study is to examine the roles of men and women as reflected in the verbal arts of the Macha Oromo, and thereby investigate the perception of women in some verbal art genres. The study also purports to investigate the behavioral expectations of men and women as reflected in Macha Oromo verbal arts; it analyzes and interprets folktales and proverbs so as to determine the extent to which the society expects men and women to conduct themselves in order to be acceptable. It takes into account the verbal arts as the primary site from which gender ideology is extracted, discussed and screened from a feminist perspective. The study examines gender roles as reflected in the verbal arts with the aim to show whether folk tradition is biased against women or not. Using feminism as a literary approach, it focuses on how folktales and proverbs reflect the roles, statuses, and identity of men and women in Macha Oromo society. The study concludes that the verbal arts examined seem to have been propagating, validating, and maintaining the prevailing gender system and the traditional gender based division of labour among the society. The findings indicate that Macha Oromo use verbal arts to maintain conformity to accepted patterns of behavior and to inculcate its values, norms and mores in the minds of its members. In many verbal arts, women seem to have been characterized to possess behaviors deemed inappropriate in the society and were made to suffer from the punishment, implying that they should conform to the norm so as to live peacefully and get acceptance in the community. The verbal arts are, thus, used to encourage behaviors deemed appropriate as per the norm of the society and discourage the evil ones. The study urges the folk to change their attitude and perception towards women and abstain themselves from using verbal arts which are sexist and designed to distort women’s image in the society in any way. It also recommends the youth to create, uphold and disseminate folktales and proverbs which are gender neutral and do not perpetuate the traditional gender based division of labour. The thesis is organized into seven chapters. While the first and second chapters constitute the introductory and review of related literature parts, the third and fourth chapters deal with research methods and theoretical framework. The fifth and six chapters are mainly concerned with the analysis and interpretation of the actual data. The last chapter concludes the dissertation and provides recommendation. As the study is associated with ethnography, it adopts different data collection techniques including observation, interview and focus group discussion as primary data gathering tools. Verbal arts collected and published in book forms by different bodies have also been used as secondary data.



Women in Macha Oromo Verbal Arts