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Meaza Ashenafi Sworn In As Ethiopia’s First Female Supreme Court Chief

Ethiopia is making history, again. Meaza Ashenafi was sworn in as the East African country’s first female Supreme Court chief on Thursday, according to Reuters.

An accomplished women’s right activist, Ashenafi served as a judge on Ethiopia’s High Court in the early nineties, according to NPR. She was also an adviser for adviser for the UN Economic Commission for Africa. She founded the Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association and Enat Bank, the first bank in the country for women.

In 2014, she tried the case that ended the practice of kidnapping girls to force them into marriage. The case was later featured in the film Difret, which focused on the young woman at the center of Ashenafi’s case.

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“I have made the nomination with the firm belief that she has the capacity required, with her vast international experience in mind,” said Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Ashenafi’s confirmation was unanimously approved by the country’s parliament.

Ahmed has been conscientious about including women in Ethiopia’s government. Last week, diplomat Sahle-Work Zewde was appointed president in another unanimous vote. Additionally, fifty percent of the ministers in his cabinet are women, reports the Washington Post. “Our women ministers will disprove the adage that women can’t lead,” Abiy said during a speech at a Parliament session.

According to the BBC, the PM has also said publicly he feels women ought to have key government positions because he believes they are “less corrupt than men.”

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