Ethiopia’s place on today’s international stage is far removed from the place it held only a generation ago. However, our research, located in eight districts in Amhara Regional State and including approximately 800 respondents over three years, found that despite progress, most adolescent girls continue to face a wide variety of threats to their well-being, primarily related to ‘sticky’ discriminatory gender norms. On the one hand, girls in Amhara are now more likely to attend school than their male peers, rates of child marriage and arranged marriage are in rapid decline, and girls’ access to contraception and divorce is also improving. On the other hand, only 60 per cent of girls in the region complete primary school and well over half are married before the age of 18. Indeed, most girls – particularly those from the poorest and most remote rural households – continue to see their options truncated by repressive gender norms that burden them with too much domestic and care work, leading to high rates of exam failure. In addition, entrenched norms see girls’ virginity as a symbol of their worth to their families. Pushed into marriage with older men to safeguard their ‘honour’, many adolescent girls continue to largely lack access to the voice and agency that would allow them to pursue new futures.