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Centre for Gender Studies

Sehin Teferra


Sehin Teferra
Sehin Teferra
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Thesis title:
Occupational Hazard or Patriarchal Entitlement? : Feminist Analysis of the Dynamics of Violence in Ethiopian Sex Work (working title)
Internal Supervisors

PhD Research

My research will investigate the gendered nature of violence against sex workers in the context of Ethiopia, a poor country with strong patriarchal traditions and a high level of violence within intimate relationships.  Violence within sex work as committed by clients and other men with relative power vis-à-vis sex workers has long been taken for granted and is not problematized either in academic or in activist contexts.  Additionally, much of the research that has been done on sex work has been ethnographic and has often engaged sex workers only as objects of research.  My research will be framed by my identity as a Third World Feminist as well as my recognition of sex work as work.  Learning from other researchers, I will be careful to avoid the trap of essentializing sex workers as victims, and moving away from academic ‘voyeurism’, I will engage in participatory action research designed in conjunction with the membership of Nikat, the first sex workers’ association in Ethiopia who will be engaged as subjects of research into their own gendered realities. Beyond the investigation of the experience and perception of violence in the context of sex work as well as the agency and vulnerability of sex workers, my research will aim to address the conceptual questions of patriarchal notions of masculinity and their relationship with gender-based violence.  In addition to its contribution to Third World Feminist scholarship, my research will yield practical analysis that will inform the work of Nikat in its activism against violence in the context of sex work.


Sex Work, Violence, Ethiopia, Gender Relations, Feminist Research, Agency.