Just one week after appointing Sahle-work Zewde as first-ever female President of modern Ethiopia, the House of Peoples’ Representatives took one more step in bringing Ethiopian women to the front, this time by appointing Meaza Ashenafi as the first female President of the Federal Supreme Court

ADDIS ABABA (Ethiopia Online)―Ethiopia’s House of Peoples’ Representatives has approved the appointments of President and Vice President of the Federal Supreme Court nominated by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, PhD. Following the approval, the renowned lawyer and women’s right activist Meaza Ashenafi has become first ever female President, whereas Mr. Solomon Areda Waktolla has become Vice President, of the Federal Supreme Court.

Judges Meaza Ashenafi and Solomon Areda Waktolla sworn-in on the same day to serve at the Federal Supreme Court.  Meaza Ashenafi replaces Judge Dagne Melaku Mehari who resigned last week after a year service as the President of the Federal Supreme Court.

According to the Ethiopian Constitution, the President and Vice-President of the Federal Supreme Court shall be appointed by the House upon the recommendation of the Prime Minister.

Meaza Ashenafi was born in 1964, in the town of Asosa in Benishangul-Gumuz Regional State. Since the age of 17, Meaza’s residence has been in Addis Ababa and attended Addis Ababa University, studying Law at Sidist Kilo Campus.

She has served as a Judge of the High Court of Ethiopia between 1989 and 1992. In 1993 she was appointed by the Ethiopian Constitution Commission as a legal adviser. In 1995, Meaza founded the Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association (EWLA), and became its executive director.

Through her legal contacts, she has been instrumental in campaigning for women’s rights in Ethiopia; her Fighting for Women’s Rights in Ethiopia group had approximately 45 graduate lawyers working for it in 2002.

In 2011 Meaza Ashenafi joined the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and, since June 2012, she has been serving as an advisor on women’s human rights in UNECA.

When Enat Bank S.C. was envisioned and established by women promoters, with the majority of shareholders being women, Meaza Ashenafi was one of the 11 founding members of the Bank and she served the bank as a member of the board of directors until 2017.

In 2003, Meaza became a Hunger Project Award laureate, winning the Grassroots Ethiopian Women of Substance Africa Prize, Two years later; she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Harvard-educated Solomon Areda Waktolla, a practicing lawyer and former judge Federal First Instance Court of Ethiopia, has been a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, an intergovernmental organization based in The Hague, the Netherlands.

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