Commentaries | Oct 31,2020
By Belay Abera ( Belay Abera is a public health professional and researcher. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. )
The United States mid-term elections saw the greatest proportion of women become legislators in the nation’s history. This is in keeping with a growing trend around the world, including Ethiopia. Given the long history of humankind where many governments have come and gone, that including women has been realized so late is hard to digest. At least we can find comfort in the understanding that it is better late than never, and that there is a conscious effort to ensure that this is a trend that will not be reversed.
The world today is fortunate to have modern icons such as Germany’s Angela Merkel and Liberia’s Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first female elected head of state. But there is still a great deal of work to be done before it can be said that gender equality is assured. Too many women are still denied the opportunity to access education, health services, capital, land and participate in politics.
By 2017, only two countries have 50pc or more women in parliament in the upper or lower houses. These include Rwanda and Bolivia. After Mauritius’ president, Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, stepped down from office back in March of this year, Africa did not have a single female head of state until Sahleworq’s appointment last month.
It is cultural and religious barriers that have hindered women from holding leadership positions for far too long. Such disenfranchisement by patriarchal societies has meant that women were excluded from fighting against issues such as gender-based violence, parental leave and childcare, pensions and poor political and economic circumstances. This has created a feedback loop that has been disastrous for the nation.
Historically, there have been women that held powerful positions and contributed to the nation’s development. Empress Zewditu, Ethiopia’s first female head of state, and Empress Taytu easily come to the mind. But there rarely has been a conscious effort to include women in political leadership or institutionalise gender parity.
Here, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s contribution to ensuring gender equality should be commendable. He has given half of the ministerial portfolios in his cabinet to women. Both the ministries of Defense and Peace - the latter with a mandate largely similar to what is known as the Ministry of Interior in other countries – are now being headed by women.
And it did not stop there. Sahleworq’s election is considered one of the brightest moments of Ethiopia’s politics as well as Meaza Ashenafi’s appointment as the first female president of the Supreme Court.
At the very least, women’s inclusion into political leadership is a fulfilment of the democratic ethos, the representation of all and sundry in government. It should have long been evident that a diversity of experiences and leadership styles in government improves a nation’s circumstances.
It has also been shown that women are likely to be calm under pressure, work across the aisle even during the most combative of situations and are better at empathising. One can look at Merkel, Britain’s Theresa May and Hillary Clinton, and their ability to serve their constituencies through hot and cold, all the while remaining composed, patient and principled.
Aside from positions of leadership, women’s participation in the sciences and the arts will have an undeniable contribution to how we understand ourselves, our environments and the economy. This means that the gender equality we see in our Council of Ministers has to trickle down. The women in leadership positions are still very much the exception.
In schools, on the street and at homes, women are usually left with the short end of the stick. There need to be quota laws in non-governmental as well as governmental institutions to make sure that the good news we have been hearing for the past couple of weeks is normal and not exceptional. This means it should be a law that about half of the women in positions of power through appointments should be women.
PUBLISHED ON [ VOL 19 , NO 968]
Commentaries | Oct 31,2020
Fortune News | Feb 20,2021
Viewpoints | Feb 19,2022
Life Matters | Jul 31,2021
Commentaries | Nov 16,2019
Commentaries | Nov 16,2019
Sunday with Eden | Mar 13,2021
Films Review | Sep 10,2021
Editorial | Apr 17,2021
Commentaries | Jun 19,2021
Photo Gallery | 53001 Views | May 06,2019
Fortune News | 45945 Views | Jul 18,2020
Photo Gallery | 44739 Views | Apr 26,2019
Fortune News | 44715 Views | Sep 01,2021
Commentaries | Jun 25,2022
Life Matters | Jun 25,2022
My Opinion | Jun 25,2022
Sunday with Eden | Jun 25,2022
Agenda | Jun 25,2022
Editorial | Jun 25,2022
November 27 , 2021
Against my will, I have witnessed the most terrible defeat of reason and the most sa...
November 13 , 2021
Plans and reality do not always gel. They rarely do in a fast-moving world. Every act...
October 16 , 2021 . By HAWI DADHI
Residing in a country with no capital market, an organised marketplace for trading se...
August 28 , 2021 . By HAWI DADHI
The streets of Addis Abeba are as varied as they are many, although too many of them have yet to be named. From the narrow alleyways of the...
Leaders of the National Election Board are in a charm offensive mood, of a sort. Last week, they organised a rare tour for members of the me...
When the country’s most senior diplomats and envoys return back to their posts after two-week debriefings, they leave behind a point or tw...
June 25 , 2022
It is not the best of times to be in charge of governance in Ethiopia, whether at the...
June 18 , 2022
Some of Ethiopia's economic policymakers may take solace from realising that inflatio...
June 11 , 2022
The stereotype many people have of parliamentarians is as clueless seat fillers who exist to rubber stamp legislative bi...
June 4 , 2022
It was an institution confident in its mission, capabilities and progress that was on...
PM Abiy Ahmed (PhD) at a Gala Dinner Called for the Awarding of the Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize
May 6 , 2019
Last year, I met a young and charming medical doctor through a mutual friend. Our friendship quickly grew. She told me about her engagement...
Some live in a distant universe where they are oblivious to norms. There are unspoken rules. For instance, if two friends dine together, unl...
June 25 , 2022 . By TSION HAILEMICHAEL
Regional state officials and cement distribution agents are in an uproar over new rul...
June 25 , 2022 . By BERSABEH GEBRE
Mayor Adanech Abiebie has won the approval of the Addis Abeba City Cabinet to give re...
The Addis Abeba City Administration is undergoing an extensive reshuffling leading th...
June 25 , 2022 . By RUTH TAYE
Dashen Bank has rolled out a data centre for nearly a quarter of a billion Birr. Installed by two local firms, the centr...
Or see contact page