[ARCHIVE] Ethiopia's 1st female President - a new gender agenda

Originally published Nov 19, 2018

Toby Fitzpatrick

2021-06-12 1 min read

Ethiopia has recently appointed its first ever female president, Sahle-Work Zewde. Furthermore, women now make up half of its cabinet. The recent reforms, from Prime Minister Abbiy Ahmed have been hailed as a massive step forward for Ethiopia's traditionally patriarchal society (see figure, courtesy of BBC).

Climatically, Ethiopia is highly variable and susceptible to changes in water supply and crop yields.

With a population predicted to grow from 100m to 159m by 2050, Ethiopia has been highlighted by the World Bank's report on internal migration, where it is predicted that the number of migrants could have increased three-fold to 1.5m by this time.

The report also emphasises the gendered nature of migration. Marginalised women are afforded fewer political rights and less economic independence than men, meaning they have less opportunity to migrate.


However, Vietnam's rural-to-urban migration patterns, which also favoured men, have balanced somewhat since the 1990s after progressive economic reforms. Perhaps with a more progressive society on the horizon, the inevitable adaptation to climate change facing Ethiopia won't negatively affect its women more than its men.