Ethiopian lawmakers convening on Tuesday October 16th have unanimously approved a cabinet with half its members women. The move that saw ten cabinet posts out of twenty go to female members is the first in the East African country undergoing rapid change under the reformist leader, Abiy Ahmed.
The prime minster gave highly prized positions, including the Ministry of Defence and the newly formed Ministry of Peace, to female officials, all of whom were later approved by Ethiopian lawmakers.
“We made today’s decision regarding female cabinet members because we have to respect our people,” Abiy Ahmed said when presenting his new cabinet. “Our women ministers will disprove the old adage that women can’t lead. They will fight theft and maladministration.”
A rising star in Ethiopian politics, Muferiat Kamil, will lead the newly formed Ministry of Peace that aims to “attain the rule of law and create a society that is based on the public’s consensus.” The Ministry of Defence went to another female official, Aisha Mohammed Musa.
The latest cabinet is the second since the new leader came to power in April following the surprise resignation of his predecessor, Hailemariam Desalegn. When the previous cabinet was announced in April, reservations were expressed over its lack of women.