Sahle-Work Zewde

Becomes Ethiopia’s First Female President

A Woman of Strength raises hope among women’s rights groups for more gender equality in Ethiopia.

The 68-year-old was unanimously approved by the Ethiopian parliament to replace Mulatu Teshome, who resigned unexpectedly. Ms. Sahle-Work is an experienced diplomat, who has now become Africa’s only female head of state.

Her election to the ceremonial position comes a week after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed appointed a cabinet with half the posts taken up by women. After being sworn in, President Sahle- Work promised to work hard to make gender equality a reality in Ethiopia. Addressing parliament, she also pledged to promote peace.

The new president was keen to make a point about gender equality right from the start, telling members of the parliament that if they thought she was talking too much about women, she has only just begun. There may now be male-female parity in the new cabinet. But elsewhere, there is still a long way to go.

Ms. Zewde’s appointment has been welcomed by Ethiopians on social media with many calling it “historic”. She has been described as Ethiopia’s first female head of state of the modern era, with some remembering Empress Zewditu, who governed the country in the early part of the 20th Century.

SOURCE – AL JAZEERA, CNN Photo: NuVision Magazine

Lisa Wicker
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