Enhancing women’s empowerment in leadership and decision-making through Presidential Leadership Program
UN Women Ethiopia in collaboration with Office of the President of Ethiopia and the Ministry of Women and Social Affairs (MoWSA) recently finalized a presidential leadership training under the first phase of the presidential leadership initiative for women leaders.
The closing ceremony was held on 21 October 2022 in Sululta town, Oromia region. In attendance were H.E. President Sahle-Work Zewde, H.E Ergoge Tesfaye, Minister, Ministry of Women and Social Affairs (MoWSA), Ms. Awa Ndiaye Seck, UN Women Special Representative, Liaison for the African Union Commission and the Economic Commission for Africa representing UN Women Ethiopia Country Office, trainers, participants of the last round training and partner agencies. Thirty-seven women leaders of public and private sectors from Afar, Dire Dawa City Administration, Oromia and Addis Ababa were awarded certificates for completion of the ten-day training on leadership, decision-making, and transformative competencies. By the end of the first phase through six round trainings, one hundred and eighty women leaders were trained and awarded certificates.
During her interaction with the women leaders, H.E. President Sahle-Work Zewde underscored the importance of self-confidence, self-empowerment, building leadership competencies, and encouraged continuous learning in order for the women leaders to realize their dream of becoming influential and transformative in the sectors they lead. H.E Zewde emphasized that networking, mentoring, and supporting each other are among the means for sustained success and she assured women leaders of her commitment to enhance women’s empowerment in leadership and decision-making as well as in countering the barriers they face, through collaborations with the relevant governmental sectors and other partners including UN Women.
H.E Ergoge Tesfaye, the Minister of Women and Social Affairs, in her message acknowledged the President for taking the initiative and ensuring the leadership program is a success. She also acknowledged the contribution of partners including UN Women and the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. H.E Tesfaye echoed the president’s message about the need for continuous learning and emphasized the value addition of networking among women leaders, who completed the training and role modeling for the next generation of women leaders.
Speaking on behalf of UN Women, Ms. Awa Ndiaye Seck appreciated the president for launching the initiative to fill the gender gap in leadership, particularly in the executive branch of the government. She added, “I would like to underline that such efforts will significantly contribute to increase the participation and effective representation of women in positions of power, for women to make decisions that affect the lives of millions of Ethiopian women.”
According to one of the trainees, Ms. Zebider Yifru, Directress at the Bureau of Land Development and Management in Addis Ababa, the training being practical and detailed enhances women’s confidence to be more visible and to believe that they can lead. “What makes the training different is that it is inclusive of those leaders coming from rural areas. These women leaders can influence the majority women who live outside of the urban areas. Among the issues which touched me the most from the training is about the potential we have to make a difference if we are committed to empower and mentor each other. While in the training I have already started planning to empower those under my leadership. In the long term I plan to target gender staff of different sectors in Addis Ababa Administration,” she explained.
For Ms. Duniya Eliyas, the Health Bureau Head of Wahel district in Dire Dawa, the training has equipped her to change the negative attitudes of her community towards a woman empowering another woman, “In my culture, there is a saying, ‘a woman does not want to see another woman’s success.’ Through the new skills acquired from the training, I aim to be a role model to change this mentality by empowering, by being the voice for the voiceless and by bringing to front the hidden women, especially in the rural areas who face too many challenges.”
Being a flagship initiative by H.E. President Sahle-Work Zewde and generously funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, and implemented by UN Women, the Presidential leadership program aims to bridge the gap in women’s participation in leadership and decision-making positions in Ethiopia. The initiative targets women leaders at federal and regional middle level political leadership positions as well as women leaders in the private sector and CSOs.