The Ethiopian Catholic Church has commented on the recent appointment of Sahle-Work Zewde as the country’s first woman president.
The Vatican News cited the church as stressing the importance of women holding decision making roles in public life.
A statement from the Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat said it was pleased with the appointment which gives other women and girls the needed inspiration to rise to become influential actors in the country.
“…it is a blessing to see that Ethiopians are recognizing the invaluable talent women have to offer to the integrated development of the nation,” the statement said.
It quoted a statement by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed who in the wake of Zewde’s appointment said the patriarchal structures of Ethiopia were being broken down moving forward.
In Ethiopia, the Catholic Church has for years worked towards the empowerment of women, by providing young girls with education and opportunities for them to explore their potentials.
The Church hopes that the election of a woman to the presidency will inspire other women and young girls throughout the country to recognise their potential and strive to become influential actors in the international arena.
The president is a largely ceremonial role in Ethiopia where political power resides in the Prime Minister. Zewde, a top diplomat and former head of the United Nations in Africa took over as president after the resignation of Mulatu Teshome.
She is currently the only woman on the continent holding the post. The last woman president was Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia who retired after the second and final term. The other top African woman politically is Namibia where the Prime Minister is a woman.