Ethiopia’s new president, Sahle-Work Zewde has joined the ranks of African women that are leading history as pioneers and leaders in male-dominated spheres like politics. Her appointment on Thursday, comes shortly after Ethiopia’s prime minister, Abiy Ahmed appointed a gender-parity cabinet that included 10 female ministers out of 20. The African Union chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat commended Ethiopia and Rwanda for taking strides to demonstrate that men and women are equal in politics.
‘‘The momentum to recognize men and women as equal in politics is vital as we work towards the Africa we want,” Faki said.
Zewde is currently the only female head of state in Africa, after Liberia’s Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Sirleaf was the first democratically elected female president who left office in January, having served the constitutionally mandated two terms. These powerful African women in leadership positions are considered trailblazers all over the world.
Ethiopia’s first female president was also the first woman appointed to head the United Nations Office to the African Union. Serving as the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Representative to the African Union, Zewde is an exceptional diplomat who has served the global organization and her country for several years. She has also served in ambassadorial roles for Ethiopia to Senegal, Djibouti, France, the United Nations and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).
Fitsum Arega in a twitter statement commented:
In an historic move, the two Houses elected Ambassador Shalework Zewde as the next President of #Ethiopia. She is the first female head of state in modern Ethiopia. A career diplomat & senior official at the UN, she brings the right competence & experience to the office. 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 normalizes women as decision-makers in public life. #Ethiopiapic.twitter.com/3Z8UNd15E0
Zewde will serve in her capacity as president of the federal republic of Ethiopia for the next six years and while the position is largely ceremonial, she has already indicated that she will pursue an agenda to promote peace and women empowerment.
Source: Daniel Mumbere, African News