Ethiopia: women in power set a good example

In the fight for gender equality the Ethiopia'n government has made various historical decisions in the past weeks.

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The Woman Post | Luisa Fernanda Báez Toro

Leer en español: Etiopía: las mujeres en el poder dan buen ejemplo

Last week Ethiopia took two steps forward in the fight for equality. Sahle-Work Zewde was selected as the country's first female president, setting a standard for the future.

Ms Sahle, according to BBC, is an experienced diplomat who has held many UN positions and has served as an ambassador for Ethiopia in Senegal and Djibouti.

"Women and girls in Ethiopia are strongly disadvantaged compared to boys and men in several areas, including literacy, health, livelihoods and basic human rights", UN women reported.

Even though Ethiopias government is trying to achieve equality, practices as female genital mutilation and child marriage reinforce harmful gender roles that constrain women’s participation in social development.

After Ms Sahle was sworn in, she stated that gender equality was going to be a top priority in her agenda and told the members of the Parliament that if they thought she was talking about women and equality too much, she was only getting started.

As read on USA today, she also addressed the importance of promoting peace in a country where multiple ethnic-based conflicts have simmered in recent months.

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"When there is no peace in country, mothers will be frustrated. Therefore, we need to work on peace for the sake of our mothers", Sahle-Work said.

This decision was made a few days Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced one of the world’s few “gender-balanced” Cabinets, with a 50-50 female-male split.

As the Prime Minister said on Twitter, "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".

Also, Meaza Ashenafi, a women's rights activist and lawyer was elected as Supreme Court president. According to The Washington Post, she founded the Ethio­pian Women Lawyers Association and helped start the first women’s bank in the country, Enat Bank.

In presenting her to the Parliament, the Prime Minister said, according to Reuters, "with the firm belief that she has the capacity required, with her vast international experience in mind".

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