Sahle-Work Zewde becomes Ethiopia’s first female president
Ethiopian members of parliament have elected Sahle-Work Zewde as the country’s first female president.
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: “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.”
Ms Sahle-Work was voted in after the unexpected resignation of her predecessor, Mulatu Teshome.
The prime minister’s chief of staff, Fitsum Arega, tweeted that 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”.
President Sahle-Work has served as an ambassador for Ethiopia in Senegal and Djibouti. She has also held a number of UN positions, including head of peace-building in the Central African Republic.
Immediately before becoming president, Ms Sahle-Work was the UN representative at the African Union.
In the Ethiopian constitution, the post of president is ceremonial with the prime minister holding the political power.
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. #Ethiopia (2) pic.twitter.com/3Z8UNd15E0
— Fitsum Arega (@fitsumaregaa) October 25, 2018