Ethiopia’s parliament on Thursday swore in the country’s first female supreme court president, building on efforts by reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to achieve gender parity in government.
The appointment of Meaza Ashenafi comes two weeks after Ahmed named 10 female ministers to make Ethiopia the third country in Africa – after Rwanda and Seychelles – to have its cabinet split equally between men and women.
A prominent rights campaigner, Meaza recently served as an adviser on women’s rights at the Addis Ababa-based UN Economic Commission for Africa.
Naming her as his pick to head the Supreme Court, Ahmed told lawmakers the court system needed improved capacities “to successfully implement demands made with regards to justice, democracy and change in our country.
“I have made the nomination with the firm belief that she has the capacity required, with her vast international experience in mind.”
Parliament unanimously approved Ahmed’s choice.
Under Ethiopia’s constitution, the court system operates independently of government.
On October 26, the Horn of Africa country named Sahle-Work Zewde as president, also the first woman to hold that post.