Ethiopia: The House of Peoples’ Representatives (HPR) on Thursday approved the appointment of the first female President of the Federal Supreme Court in the history of the country.
On its 4th regular session, the House approved Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s nomination of Meaza Ashenafi as new President of the Federal Supreme Court.
The House also approved the nomination of Solomon Areda as Deputy President of the Federal Supreme Court.
The House of People’s and Representatives appointed the country’s first woman president last week, just days after the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed unveiled a new Cabinet that is half female.
Meaza hold the post following Dagne Melaku, has resigned after a year service as 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.
Born in 1964, in Asosa Zone of Benishangul-Gumuz, Meaza Ashenafi has received first degree in law from Addis Abeba University and master’s degree from U.S Kentucky University in international relations.
She has served as a Judge of the High Court of Ethiopia.
In 1993 she was appointed by the Ethiopian Constitution Commission as a legal adviser. In 1995, Meaza as Ethiopian lawyer, described as a “prominent women’s rights activist”, she is the founder and executive director of the Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association (EWLA).
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.
Meaza has held a position with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. She helped lead the development of the first women’s bank in Ethiopia, Enat Bank, which was established in 2011 and as of 2016 chairs its board of directors.
In 2003, she 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.