The 2024  Safaricom Women First 5km takes place on Sunday 17th March 2023. 

The WOMEN FIRST 5km, a 5km women’s-only run in Addis Ababa, was started in 2004 – the same year as the Athens Olympics – to recognize the achievements of Ethiopia’s great female athletes. It also aimed to support the broader changes regarding the role of women in Ethiopia’s economic and social life. Ethiopia’s double Olympic gold medalist Meseret Defar is the ambassador for this event.

WOMEN FIRST has grown into the biggest women’s-only run in Ethiopia and one of the biggest in Africa. The race takes place traditionally around the time of International Women’s Day on 8th March.

2023 saw the staging of the 20th edition of the event with the run held on 26th March 2023 and attracting a record 15,000 participants.

Each year, this race publicizes important social messages which focus on women’s empowerment as well as achievement. The message for the 20th edition was “My Space, My Right, My Voice”.

My Space! My Right! My Voice!

The United Nations in Ethiopia has partnered with the Great Ethiopia Run for the 2023 Five km Women First Run in order to advocate for addressing the gender digital divide and ensuring digital safety.

Ensuring digital rights of women and girls is critical to pave the way for them to be connected, empowered and safe. This contributes to justice, inclusive and prosperous world, as envisioned in the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.

Digital technologies are an essential pathway to gender equality and empowerment, and it is important to include women and girls more closely in the digital transformation of economies and societies. 

Digital Gender Divide

Bringing women and other marginalized groups into technology results in more creative solutions and has greater potential for innovations that meet women’s needs and promote gender equality.

Giving women and girls access to the Internet and the skills to use digital technologies provides them the opportunity to start new businesses, sell products to new markets, find better-paid jobs and access education, health and financial services, as well as to enhance participation in public life and improve information exchange. Nevertheless, growing inequalities are becoming increasingly evident in the context of digital skills and access to technologies, with women being left behind as the result of this digital gender divide.

According to UN Women’s Gender Snapshot 2022 Report, women hold only 2 in every 10 science, engineering and information and communication technology jobs globally. They comprise only 16.5% of inventors associated with a patent.

Women’s exclusion from the digital world has shaved $1 trillion from the gross domestic product of low- and middle-income countries in the last decade—a loss that will grow to $1.5 trillion by 2025 without action. Reversing this trend will require tackling the problem of online violence, which a study of 51 countries revealed 38 per cent of women had personally experienced.

The ITU Facts and Figures 2022 Report also shows that globally the percentage of females and males using the internet is 63 per cent and 69 per cent respectively, and in Africa the percentage of females and males using the internet is 34 per cent and 45 per cent respectively.

A gender-responsive approach to innovation, technology and digital education can increase the awareness of women and girls regarding their rights and civic engagement. Advancements in digital technology offer immense opportunities to address development and humanitarian challenges, and to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals.

The need for inclusive and transformative technology and digital education is, therefore, crucial for a sustainable future. Collective efforts to raise awareness, encourage and empower girls and young women with digital skills to use digital technologies are important to achieve the SDGs and close the digital gender gap.

Digital safety

There is currently no internationally agreed definition of violence against women and girls (VAWG) in digital contexts, also known interchangeably as “ICT-facilitated violence”, “online violence”, “tech- facilitated or related” violence, “digital violence” or “cyberviolence”.

Online and technology facilitated VAWG takes many forms – sexual harassment, stalking, zoom bombing, intimate image abuse, trolling, doxing, misogynistic or gendered hate speech amongst others. Some forms of VAWG such as intimate partner or domestic violence and trafficking are also facilitated through different digital tools including mobile phones, GPS and tracking devices amongst others. For instance, abusive partners or ex-partners use tracking devices or other digital tools to monitor, track, threaten and perpetrate violence.

Traffickers use technology to profile, recruit, control and exploit their victims and such trends have increased during the pandemic

The forms and patterns of online VAWG are ever-evolving and continue to multiply as technology and its usages advance in a context of rapidly expanding digitalization

The impact of online violence against women and girls can be as harmful as offline violence with negative effects on the health and wellbeing of women and girls as well as serious economic, social and political impacts

  • Online violence against women are acts ‘committed, abetted or aggravated’ in part or fully using information and communication technology (ICT) acts of gender-based violence that are committed, abetted, or aggravated, in part or fully, using information and communication technologies.
  • UN Women’s research indicates that globally online and ICT facilitated violence ranges 16-58 %
  • Online global study found out that 38% of women personal experiences of violence and 85% of those who are online have witnessed digital violence Against other women.
  • A 2020 study of women in five countries across sub-Saharan Africa found that 28 percent of women interviewed had experienced online gender-based violence, 36% had experienced sexual harassment; and 26.7% had experienced online stalking such as repeated contact or doxing.
  • While men can also experience online violence and abuse, women and girls are more likely to experience unique forms of gendered violence in digital contexts young women and girls are particularly exposed to online violence. One study found that 58% of girls and young women surveyed globally have experienced some form of online harassment

We must recognize online and technology facilitated VAWG as a human rights violation and include it in laws to criminalize and prohibit all forms of violence in digital contexts and strengthen capacities of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute crimes effectively.

Registration date will be announced in due time.

We will be giving regular updates and latest news via our social media channels:

FB: @GreatEthiopianRun

Twitter: @greatethrun 

Instagram: @greatethrun 

YouTube: @GreatEthiopianRunET 

Click here for Elite Women’s race results. 

Click here for Icon Women’s race results. 
Click here for Fitness Challenge race results.
Click here for Ambassador ‘s race results.
Training tips from Meseret Defar

4-week training plan for WOMEN FIRST 5km:

4 weeks to go:

Discipline is everything – stay at it!

Session 1

Walk 5 minutes – jog 5 minutes – walk 5 minutes – jog 3 minutes – walk 2 minutes

Session 2

Walk 10 minutes – jog 5 minutes – walk 10 minutes

Session 3

Walk 5 minutes – jog 5 minutes – walk 5 minutes – jog 5 minutes – walk 5 minutes

Session 4 (as group)

Walk 2 minutes – jog 2 minutes – and repeat

Walk 1 minute – jog 1 minute – and repeat 4 times

Walk 2 minutes – jog 2 minutes – and repeat

Walk 1 minute – jog 1 minute – and repeat 2 times

3 weeks to go:

Test yourself – try some interval training

Session 1

Walk 5 minutes – jog 1 minute – walk 1 minute (repeat 5x) – walk 5 minutes

Session 2

Walk 5 minutes – jog 5 minutes – walk 5 minutes – jog 5 minutes – walk 5 minutes

Session 3

Walk 5 minutes – jog 1 minute – walk 1 minute (repeat 5x) – walk 5 minutes

Session 4 (as group)

Walk 5 minutes – jog 5 minutes – walk 5 minutes – jog 5 minutes – walk 5 minutes

2 week to go:

Don’t attempt too much – just keep in your routine

Session 1

Walk 2 minutes – jog 8 minutes – walk 2 minutes – jog 8 minutes – walk 2 minutes

Session 2

Walk 2 minutes – jog 2 minutes – and repeat

Walk 1 minute – jog 1 minute – and repeat 7 times

Walk 5 minutes

Session 3

Walk 2 minutes – jog 8 minutes – walk 2 minutes – jog 8 minutes – walk 2 minutes

Session 4 (as group)

Walk 3 minutes – jog 5 minutes – repeat 3 times – walk 5 minutes

Go Green 2022-23 Plan








The race results for each category in the event (elites, ambassadors, icon women and chipped runners) will be available one hour after the race on our event website. 

Securing your place in the run

Our standard entry system for residents of Ethiopia opens well ahead of the event.  

Discounts on race t-shirts

In line with standard policy across all races we organize, there are no discounts on registration fees for race entry fees. 

How to collect your t-shirt?

Once you are registered to participate in the Women First 5km, please make sure you keep your receipt in the right place. The distribution of race packs and t-shirts for Ethiopia residents takes place 3days before the race day. 

Race course

The race course starts and finishes at Atlas Hotel. A map of the race course is available on our website and in the official race magazine.  

Training for the race

Great Ethiopian Run has a membership programme which offers a range of benefits including training sessions for the 10km and guaranteed race places.