On October 25th, Ethiopia’s Federal Parliament Assembly voted into office their first female president Sahle-Work Zewde. With an extremely impressive resume, parliament knew she was the right candidate leading to a unanimous decision. Prior to being appointed president, Zawde served as the Head of the United Nations Office to the African Union (which she was the first female to do so) at the level of Under-Secretary General, the third highest ranking position in the UN. From 2011 to June of this year, she held the title or Director-General of the United Nations Office at Nairobi and as the Ethiopian Ambassador to France, Djibouti, and Senegal from 1989 to 2006.
As the first female president of Ethiopia and the only woman head of state in Africa, her role holds a grand significance for change in gender balance. As Fitsum Arega, chief of staff to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia tweeted: “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.”