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Greg Dorey


Part of UK in Ethiopia

14th April 2014

Ethiopia’s First Female DPM

Ethiopia’s First Female DPM
Ethiopia’s First Female DPM

‘Women in Leadership’ is not a new concept in Ethiopia. From Queen Eleni, the wife of the Ethiopian Medieval King ZeraYaqob, to Empress Taitu, this country has had its share of iron ladies.

So may I congratulate Her Excellency W/ro Aster Mamo, just appointed Deputy Prime Minister #DPM for Good Governance and Reform and Minister of the Civil Service. It is good that the Ethiopian Government, which is not alone in being a little short of women in the Cabinet, has appointed a woman into the highest executive position here since the death of Empress Regent Zewditu in 1930.

The appointment of the new DPM marks a progressive shift in gender issues in Ethiopia, from purely rights based matters to a wider empowerment. All political parties have agreed that women will constitute at least 30% of their election candidates, though implementation of this has been mixed. But at least the number of women Parliamentarians has increased during each of the last four general elections.

And in parallel the Ethiopian Government has shown a desire to tackle the huge legacy of gender inequality. From promoting girls’ education and fighting harmful traditional practices ranging from early marriage to Female Genital Mutilation #FGM, the country is showing considerable progress over the past two decades – but there is still a long way to go. Given that fully empowering women is almost certainly the biggest single change which could be made to GDP growth here, I hope decision makers will get the message.