Shortly after assuming office, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres launched his strategy on gender parity to start a system-wide campaign to advance this priority at the United Nations. The strategy noted that “In the intervening years there has been no shortage of policies, reports and recommendations to further this goal; yet implementation has been hampered by a lack of sustained political will and accountability, absence of accompanying measures and enabling conditions for real reform, and resistance at different moments from key stakeholders.”
Mr. Guterres is changing all that. The Secretary-General made a commitment to reach parity at the senior leadership level by the end of 2021, and well before 2030. In the last year, many women have been appointed into very senior positions in the UN, and on February 23, this year, Mr. Guterres chaired the first meeting of the United Nations 50-50 Senior Management Group.
And then Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who has wowed us already by his phenomenal achievement within the first 60 days in office has taken unprecedented steps to implement gender parity in government.
Barely 60 days in office, Abiy lifted the state of emergency, ordered the release of thousands of prisoners, allowed dissidents to return home and unblocked hundreds of websites and TV channels. His decision to give up disputed border territory with neighboring Eritrea ended decades of discord.
While most people in the country, the region and world are still reeling from the fast pace of these reforms, our dear Abiy did it again and joined Seychelles and Rwanda as the third African country to score a gender parity in cabinet with the appointment of a new cabinet of equal men and women with women at the top security posts for the first time in Ethiopia’s history.
Aisha Mohammed is in charge of defense, and Muferiat Kamil, a former parliamentary speaker, will head the newly formed Ministry of Peace. In addition to defense and security, women will head the ministries of trade, transport and labor, as well as culture, science and revenue.
PM Abiy topped to all these up last week with the election of Sahle-Work Zewde as the first female president of Ethiopia, and this week, Ethiopia’s parliament swore in the country’s first female supreme court president, Meaza Ashenafi.
Gender parity is becoming a reality in the UN and Ethiopia, these are truly glorious times for women in the country and the organization.
Thank you Sirs