Sahle-Work Zewde : Ethiopia’s First Female President

Ethiopia: Sahle-Work Zewde becomes Ethiopia’s first female president.

Sahle-Work Zewde Ethiopia's First Female President (Image BBC)
Sahle-Work Zewde Ethiopia’s First Female President (Image BBC)

Sahle-Work Zewde is elected as the country’s first female president by the Ethiopian members of parliament.

Ms Sahle-Work who has also become Africa’s only female head of state is an experienced diplomat.

Ms Sahle-Work was elected President after sudden and unexpected resignation former President  Mulatu Teshome. Her election came week after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed appointed a cabinet that had half the posts taken up by women.

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Sahle-Work Zewde Ethiopia's First Female PresidentSahle-Work Zewde Ethiopia's First Female President
Sahle-Work Zewde Ethiopia’s First Female President(Image Africanews)

Before being appointed President, Ms. Sahle-Work was UN representative st African Union. She has also served as an ambassador for Ethiopia in Senegal and Djibouti. She has also served other UN positions, including the head of peace-building in the Central African Republic (CAR).

As President, she now promises to work hard to make gender equality a reality in Ethiopia.

Addressing parliament, she vowed to promote peace:

“I urge you all, to uphold our peace, in the name of a mother, who is the first to suffer from the absence of peace.”

The newly elected President has her keen interest to work for the gender equality rights for the country. Addressing the MPs is said if they think she was talking too much about the women that they must know that she has just begun.

The new cabinet may now have the male-female parity but elsewhere in the country, there is still a long way to go.

Ms. Sahle-Work’s appointment is a historic moment for the Ethiopians and her appointment is welcomed and it reflects from the social media.

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.

The prime minister’s chief of staff, Fitsum Arega, tweeted that

“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”.

Fitsum Arega Tweet





In the Ethiopian constitution, the post of president is ceremonial with the prime minister holding the political power.

The last African female head of state was Mauritian President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, who resigned in March over an expenses scandal. She denied any wrongdoing.


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