Ethiopia has a new female President, Sahle-Work Zewde, who was quickly appointed by the country’s parliament following the resignation of Mulatu Teshome.
Sahle-Work (69) has worked with the UN’s special representatives to the African Union since June as under-secretary-general. She has previously held top diplomatic posts in her career, and at one time she was representing Ethiopia in Djibouti and France.
Her appointment comes against a backdrop of cabinet reshuffles and political reforms by the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed; who is the country’s government and policy leader. Some of these sweeping changes include the release of journalists, bloggers, and political prisoners from jail. The said individuals were put in detention by the previous administration.
The Prime Minister’s top aide tweeted the following in light of Sahle-Work appointment as Ethiopia’s President.
In a patriarchal society such as ours, the appointment of a female head of state not only sets the standard for the future but also normalises women as decision-makers in public life. #Ethiopia (2) pic.twitter.com/3Z8UNd15E0
— Fitsum Arega (@fitsumaregaa) October 25, 2018
Ooh… half of Ethiopia’s Cabinet is filled with women
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Ahmed announced a downsized cabinet, in which, for the first time in Ethiopia, women were occupying half of the seats. Making Ethiopia the second country in Africa where women’s representation in the cabinet has achieved gender parity. The East African nation is also one of a handful of countries in the world, to achieve such a well gender-balanced cabinet.
— Fitsum Arega (@fitsumaregaa) October 24, 2018
This recent cabinet reshuffle is just one in a series of dramatic reforms by Prime Minister Abiy, who took the mantle in April this year after Ethiopia went through two years of anti-government unrest.