OPINION: New Ethiopia female president once doubted she could lead

OPINION: New Ethiopia female president once doubted she could lead

Woyzero Sahle-Work Zewde, the new Ethiopia President, has made history as the country’s first female leader.

Despite having served in top international positions before, Thursday’s appointment is unmatched.

As a wife, mother of two children and the first born in a family of four girls, her achievements are remarkable.

However, one thing you may not know about her is that at one time, she was very reluctant to take up a leadership position.

A publication titled ‘Celebrating Ethiopian Women‘ gives an account of Sahle-Work’s words recalling when she was appointed Djibouti ambassador.

“I was very reluctant to accept it. I thought being a woman in a Muslim country might not be conducive to getting the two countries closer,” she said.

She was saying this even though in the public eye she was deemed a success story.

However, she cast aside her doubts and fears and rose to the occasion, serving as envoy to Djibouti for nine years.

Ironic isn’t it? She had doubted her abilities because of her gender and her religion.

Since then, she has served in even greater capacity under different international roles.

In June 2018, she became the first woman appointed as Special Representative to the African Union and Head of the United Nations Office to the African Union (UNOAU).

Where would she be if she had given in to her doubts?

It is not uncommon for women of her stature to go through periods of self-doubt. However what makes her different is how she chose to respond to her own self-criticism.

She is now one of the most powerful women in the world, backed by a Cabinet whose members are 50percent female.

What a feat!

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Story By Linda Ngari
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