Having women in government, especially in Africa is seen as a strange phenomenon despite recent advocacy for giving opportunity of handling leadership roles to women. The Ethiopian government just broke the jinx as the new cabinet is made up of 50% percent, new record. Lawmakers in the country approved the list of ministerial nominees put forward by the reformist Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed.
Since taking over the reins of power early in April this year the Prime Minister has brought in several reforms which have swept through Ethiopia economically and politically. While presenting his list to the Lawmakers Abiy said, “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.”
The country now joins several countries, mostly of European origin, who have allowed women to take up 50% or more of ministerial posts. The most prominent of country leaders that have ensured gender-balanced cabinets are President Emmanuel Macron of France and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada.
Among the women offered ministerial posts include the new minister for defense, Aisha Mohammed Musa. Muferiat Kamil, a former speaker of the House will now head the Ministry of Peace. This is seen as a herculean task as the country which is regarded as the second most populous in Africa is facing several ethnic turbulences.
The new cabinet is made of 20 positions which is a reduction from the previous 28. It is the second cabinet which has been set in place by the Prime Minister since assuming office in April.