Ethiopian Airlines CEO, Mr. Tewolde Gebremariam official HeForShe Champion for Ethiopia

Date: Friday, March 11, 2016

Ethiopian Airlines female staff. Photo credits: UN Women / Paula Mata
Ethiopian Airlines female staff. Photo credits: UN Women / Paula Mata

On the International Women’s Day, 8th March 2016, UN Women Ethiopia had the honour to participate at the Ethiopian Airlines commemoration event. Ms. Funmi Balogun UN Women Deputy Country Representative, officially pinned Mr. Tewolde Gebremariam, Ethiopian Airlines CEO, as the Champion of the movement in the country. Mr. Tewolde joins H.E Hailemariam Desalegn, the Prime Minister of FDRE, Presidents of AAU, Civil Service College and other influential men, as the HeForShe Champions for Ethiopia.

Ms. Funmi Balogun officially pinning Mr. Tewolde Gebremariam. Photo credits: UN Women / Paula Mata
Ms. Funmi Balogun officially pinning Mr. Tewolde Gebremariam. Photo credits: UN Women / Paula Mata

Ms. Funmi Balogun introduced the HeForShe campaign to the audience by indicating “HeForShe is a solidarity movement for gender equality that provides a platform for men and boys to engage and become agents of change.” Ms. Funmi encouraged the men and especially the media present at the event to support efforts towards the empowerment of women in Ethiopia by saying, “We need to tell women what they can do, rather than always telling them what they cannot do because they are women.  Women can also be pilots and engineers, and not just as cabin crew.”

Mr. Tewolde Gebremariam thanked Ethiopian Airlines female staff for their efforts and contributions to the continuous growth and success of the airline. He showed pride and honour to be a HeForShe Champion for his country. He committed to continuously provide equal opportunities for women at Ethiopian Airlines within the next five to ten years. “We need to work with Universities, secondary schools and other educational organizations to ensure we give women equal access to opportunities”, Mr. Tewolde stated.

Mr. Tewolde also explained how Ethiopian Airlines has even modified internal recruitment requirements and processes that used to put women in disadvantaged situations. For example, the minimum height required to be a pilot is now adapted to female friendly policies.

Before closing the event, Mr. Tewolde Gebremariam, thanked UN Women and the HeForShe movement for all the efforts to advance women’s empowerment in Ethiopia and he said, “Women are more than 50% of the population. Gender equality is not a matter of choice.”