While India grapples with an unimaginable pushback from a sitting minister in the government to its #Metoo moment, here comes a good news from another part of the world. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Tuesday unveiled a downsized cabinet where, in a first, half the members are women.
The previous cabinet had 28 ministers, of which only five were women. Women occupy key positions in the newly appointed 20-member cabinet that includes a newly created Ministry of Peace to oversee the federal police and intelligence agencies. “Women are assigned to run key ministerial portfolios including ministries of Peace, Trade and Industry, and Defence,” Chief of Staff Fitsum Arega tweeted.
The new Minister of National Defence, Aisha Mohammed, is the first woman to hold the post. Minister of Peace Muferiat Kamil is the former speaker of parliament.
Hardly a surprise given the sudden surge in demand for equality at work by women. While sections of the world are recognising that need and addressing it, many are yet to wake up to the changing times. The Indian Parliament, best describes the vast gender disparity prevalent in the country. With 65 MPs, women constitute just 12 per cent of the total strength of the 16th Lok Sabha. With such miniscule representation of women in our Parliament, the demand to get the Women's Reservation Bill passed has been a long-standing one. The bill seeks to reserve one-third (or 33 per cent) of all seats for women in Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies. A third of the total seats reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes will also be reserved for women from these categories in Lok Sabha and legislative assemblies. The reserved seats may be allocated by rotation to different constituencies in the state or Union Territory. The Bill was passed in Rajya Sabha on March 9, 2010 but is yet to withstand the test in Lok Sabha.
For long, the world has lived in a world ruled by the man while debating what things would be like under women. In places like Ethiopia, it was be interesting to watch what changes a women heavy cabinet would bring to people’s lives. Whether it would get better or whether power corrupt the fairer sex just as has its other half for ages.