Ethiopia: Reform Unveils Ethiopian Women Leadership

Ethiopia is truly the land of heroines. Throughout its history the land has enjoyed the fruits of its heroine leaders. The great Ethiopian victory-Adwa and the role of empress Taitu is a good indication to this. Even if her husband Menelik II had a great role in political leadership to conquer the invading force, the role of his wife Empress Taitu was also vital. What is more, those Ethiopian patriots who had been serving as a double agent in times of the five years occupation are good indications of Ethiopian women’s role in the political sphere.

The role of Ethiopian women in the political affairs might not be visible but they had always been serving their motherland behind the scene. Despite all the chores at home, they have both visible and invisible roles in the political transition of their nation. However, despite this leadership quality there was no time Ethiopian women were equally represented in parliament with their men counterparts. For several decades they were included in political leadership for the sake of political propaganda. However, the last three years has witnessed a new political transformation in Ethiopian cabinet that gave an equal political opportunity with men. This political reformation has unveiled the old and torn apart curtain that hides women behind the scene.

Following his ascension into power, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has reversed the previous trend that led men to dominate political leadership. As it was reported by several international media Ethiopia’s initiative towards women empowerment is a good indication of equality and can also be taken as a model for other African countries.

As part of his ambition, Prime Minister Abiy has allotted fifty percent of the cabinet to women. This includes the presidential position and Ministry of Defense that had been totally dominated by men. This reform is not out of the blue. Seeing the role of women in restoring peace and stability the reform has allowed them to hold key political positions.

Put it in his own words the Prime Minister once said, “Women had made a great contribution to restoring peace and stability, were less corrupt, respected their work and could sustain the drive for change. Our women ministers will disprove the old adage that women can’t lead. This decision is the first in the history of Ethiopia and probably in Africa.”

He also confirmed that his reform process will continue to address the structural and strategic problems that pushed the country into chaos. In this regard, the role of women in political transformation of the nation should be taken as vital.

Indeed, as it was recently mentioned by President Sahlework Zewde while visiting Harare town, Ethiopia has put in place several strategies and programmers tailored for enhancing active participation of women in the social, economic and political spheres. Ethiopia is on the right track in terms of enhancing women empowerment in multispectral fields.

Tsegereda Zewdu, is Ethiopian Youth Federation Vice President. Speaking to The Ethiopian Herald she said, the new political reformation that allows women to take political leadership is a good indication how the government is decisive to transform the political system of the nation through women engagement. The past three reforms are a good indication in this regard. Women leadership in Ethiopia has seen a climax.

The reformation has brought several women into power. This is an indication how the system is committed to democratization and equal opportunity for women. This encourages those women in the lower level of administration and encourages them to exert their energy for their nation.

This is a good initiative in Ethiopian politics. But it should not be confined at the higher level of political administration. It should also include those women in the lower level. The previous systems have prohibited women from actively engaging in the political affairs of their nation.

Asked the power of women in every direction, Tsgereda said, “Women have dual responsibility. Their duty is not only confined at home. They have a responsibility to raise their children and also other social responsibility. In this regard, when they assume political position it would sometimes be difficult for them to balance the two. For this reason, they are sometimes considered as inefficient. The truth is, we are not. While paving the political ground the system should also provide women with an enabling environment at office. They should also be supported by their spouse.”

Woyneshet Zerihun, is Addis Ababa City Administration Investment Deputy Commissioner. For her, the political reform of the country has shown the commitment of the new government towards women empowerment and it is a good indication of equal political opportunity.

Due to several reasons Ethiopian women had no opportunity to compete with their men counterparts. This could be academic reason or social factor. However, within time this trend has changed and women have shown their effectiveness.

“Following the political reformation, several women have come into power and shown their effectiveness in the position they assume. The president and the Deputy Mayors of Addis Ababa City Administration are a good indication. Despite all the responsibilities at home, Ethiopian women are showing their potential in every sector.”

Women are leaders by nature. She is a psychologist, economist and Manager at home. For this reason, if women are given a chance to assume political leadership. There is nothing that prevents them from contributing their share in the political and economic transition of their country.

The political reformation of the nation is a good manifestation to this. Fifty percent of the cabinet is seated by women. These women are now showing their political leadership skills. If they got opportunity, there is no any means women cannot perform better in political office

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