Fitsum Arega, chief of staff to the prime minister’s office said in a tweet: “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.”
When the previous president, Mulatu Teshome resigned from his position, parliament named Sahle-Work to replace him. Sahle-Work was previously director-general of the U.N. Office in Nairobi and held a range of diplomatic posts, including Ethiopia’s ambassador to France and Djibouti.
The appointment of president Sahle-Work has been called ‘historic’ by many on social media. She has openly stated that those who think she has already talked too much about women should expect even more. All this happened in the context in which the dynamic prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, had given half of his cabinet posts to women. He has publicly expressed the need to promote women amidst Ethiopia’s more traditional and patriarchal society.
-Written by Maranata Zemede (Intern), edited by Ntama Bahati (Policy Analyst)
Photograph courtesy of Eduardo Soteras/AFP/Getty Images