Ethiopia appoints first female president

Ethiopia appoints first female president
© Getty images

Ethiopian lawmakers on Thursday appointed the country’s first female president.

Sahle-Work Zewde took the oath of office in the largely ceremonial role, calling it a step toward Ethiopia becoming “a place to live in equality.”

“If the reforms we have started are led in equal measure by both men and women, the country will soon forget poverty and backwardness and move toward prosperity,” Sahle-Work said, according to Bloomberg. “Her citizens–without differences in gender, ethnicity, religion or any other factor–will call Ethiopia a place to live in equality.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Sahle-Work’s appointment comes after a government overhaul led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed that included appointing women to half of the government’s cabinet posts.

The former ambassador and United Nations special representative replaces former President Mulatu Tehome, who abruptly resigned this week.

Sahle-Work is now the only female head of state in Africa. After taking the oath of office, she spoke to parliament and vowed to focus on gender equality and peace, according to the BBC.

"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,” she said.