Ethiopian lawmakers unanimously elected the country’s first female president on Thursday, days after approving one of the world’s few “gender-balanced” cabinets as the country’s dramatic reforms continue.
As seasoned diplomat Sahle-Work Zewde assumed the largely ceremonial post, many celebrated Africa’s only current female head of state. The continent’s first female president, Liberia’s Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, left office this year.
“Congratulations, Madam President! Women do make a difference. We are proud of you!” the female president of the United Nations General Assembly, María Fernanda Espinosa Garces, said in a Twitter post.
“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,” the chief of staff for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said on Twitter.