President Sahle-Work among Forbes 100 Most Powerful Women

7 Dec 2018

Ethiopia’s new President, H.E. Sahle-Work Zewde, is ranked Number 97 on Forbes’ 2018 World’s 100 Most Powerful Women list, and is the only African.

In October 2018, Ms Zewde became Ethiopia’s first female president and is currently the only serving female head of state in Africa.

A seasoned diplomat and veteran of the United Nations, Ms Zewde was appointed with a unanimous vote by parliament after being nominated by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

In her first address to parliament, Ms Zewde promised to be a voice for women and stressed the importance of unity. Traditionally a ceremonial role, Ms Zewde’s appointment is a tremendously symbolic move for Ethiopia, opening the door for gender parity.

In the 15th year of the annual list, German Chancellor Angela Merkel retained the top spot for the eighth consecutive year, followed by British Prime Minister Theresa May in second place. Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Firm takes third place while Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II ranks 23rd and is the oldest on the list at 92.

“Forbes’ Most Powerful Women 2018 list reflects what is always known about power, how ephemeral it is and how volatile it can be,” says Moira Forbes, Executive Vice President, Forbes Media. “The world’s most powerful women are leading amidst a tumultuous time where geopolitical tensions are on the rise, key economies are facing instability, and where trust in institutions is at an all-time low.”

List members represent women in six categories: business (27 honourees), technology (18), finance (12), media & entertainment (16), politics & policy (22) and philanthropy (5). In total, the Power Women control or influence nearly $2 trillion in revenues and oversee 5 million employees.

…100 most influential Africans

President Sahle-Work also gets a mention, as Ethiopia’s first female president, in New African Magazine’s 100 Most Influential Africans of 2018, which stated “Ethiopia’s advances in gender diversity enhance the standing of the region, where Rwanda is celebrated for having numerous female lawmakers in parliament.” This progress was applauded by the AU Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat, who said: “The momentum to recognise men and women as equal in politics is vital as we work towards the Africa we want.”

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