The Portrayal of Women in Stickers Displayed in Taxis in Ethiopia

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Getachew Tilahun
Sellassie Cheru


The main purpose of this study was to explore the portrayal of women in textual stickers that are communicated
among drivers, conductors, commuters, and the public who travel by taxis and bajaj in Ethiopia. The stickers
were collected from taxis and the three-wheeled vehicles (widely called bajaj) that are used for the same
purpose working in purposively selected towns (Adama, Bahir Dar, Hawassa, and Jimma) located in Oromia,
Amhara, and Sidama Regional States, and from the two City Administrations (Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa),
Ethiopia. Discourse analysis (critical and textual) and interpretative phenomenological analysis were used as
theories and analysis methods. The findings reveal stickers that superficially seem entertaining via the content
they carry and their language, which is rich in metaphors, label women either positively or negatively. When
portrayed positively, women are merely positioned as loving and caring mothers and partners. Contrarily,
negative portrayals of women depict them as if they were worried about their looks, wealth, and sex. By doing
so, vehicle stickers promote, inculcate, and communicate gender stereotypes among the
commuting community through taxis and bajaj, the main urban road transport service providers.
Subsequently, a significant uncritical group of the larger public could further share such a portrayal of women.
Accordingly, using stickers for acceptable ends has been suggested, among others, as a means of promoting
social goods endowed with women, and as an avenue for promoting the health and well-being of society.

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How to Cite
Tilahun, G., & Cheru, S. (2024). The Portrayal of Women in Stickers Displayed in Taxis in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian Journal of Social Sciences and Language Studies (EJSSLS), 11(1), 33-50. Retrieved from