Liya Kebede is a model, actress, clothing designer, and maternal health advocate. One of the best-known models from Ethiopia, Kebede has graced the cover of Vogue on multiple occasions. Also known for her philanthropic efforts, Kebede established the Liya Kebede Foundation. Her work through the foundation earned her a place in Glamour magazine's Women of the Year list in 2013.
Sahle-Work Zewde is an Ethiopian diplomat and politician. In 2018, she became the first woman to be elected to the president's office in Ethiopia and has been serving as the president of Ethiopia since then. Sahle-Work Zewde has been featured on Forbes magazine's World's 100 Most Powerful Women list.
Zewditu, a 20th-century Ethiopian empress and the eldest daughter of King Menelik of Shewa, scripted history as the first female head of an internationally recognized African state. She was also the first and last empress regnant of Ethiopia. It’s widely believed, she died of shock 2 days after her husband’s death in battle.
Genzebe Dibaba is an Ethiopian athlete who specializes in middle and long-distance running. She is best known for winning a silver medal at the 2016 Olympic Games. Prior to 2016, she had success at the 2015 World Championships where she won gold and a bronze medal. Genzebe Dibaba has also won five gold medals at the World Indoor Championships.
Ethiopian distance runner Tirunesh Dibaba scripted history by becoming the youngest female World Champion, in 2003, when she was a little over 18 years. She is also the first female to win the Olympic 5,000m/10,000m double. The 5-time World Champion is also a 3-time Olympic gold medalist.
Queen of Sheba is a biblical figure who finds a mention in the Hebrew Bible. Although her existence is often disputed among scholars and historians, the Queen of Sheba has been an important character in the history of literature, art, and music. Her stories have also inspired films, such as The Queen of Sheba (1921) and Solomon and Sheba (1959).
Derartu Tulu is an Ethiopian retired long-distance runner who took part in several events like road running and marathon. She won a gold medal each at the 1992 and 2000 Olympics. She also won a bronze medal at the 2004 Olympics. Tulu is also known for winning a gold and silver medal at the World Championships.
Menen Asfaw ruled as an empress consort of Ethiopia, as the wife of Emperor Haile Selassie. Born into the noble family of Asfaw, Jantirar of Ambassel, she apparently had 3 marriages before she got married to Haile Selassie. She proved to be a trusted advisor to Selassie till her death.
Taytu Betul reigned as the Empress of Ethiopia from 10 May 1889 to 12 December 1913. She is credited with co-founding the city of Addis Ababa along with her husband in 1886. As the wife of Emperor Menelik II, Taytu Betul wielded considerable political power. In fact, the emperor always consulted Taytu Betul before making important decisions.
Ethiopian long-distance runner Almaz Ayana is not just an Olympic gold medalist but has also won the World Championship twice. She broke the 10,000m world record at the 2016 Rio Olympics, which was also her first year at the Olympics. She is also a Continental Cup and African Championship winner.
Letesenbet Gidey is an Ethiopian athlete who specializes in long-distance running. She is best known for winning a bronze medal at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. She is also known for winning a gold medal at the 2022 World Championships in Eugene, USA. Letesenbet Gidey has also won five gold medals at the World Cross Country Championships.
Meseret Defar is an Ethiopian athlete who specializes in long-distance running. She is best known for winning a gold medal at the 2004 and 2012 Olympic Games in Athens and London respectively. In 2008 at the Beijing Olympics, Defar won a silver medal for Ethiopia. She has also won medals at the World Championships, All-Africa Games, and World Indoor Championships.
Zinash Tayachew is an Ethiopian politician, gospel singer, and philanthropist. She is currently serving as the First Lady of Ethiopia. As the First Lady, Tayachew is committed towards alleviating the difficulties faced by children in Ethiopia. Zinash Tayachew also works for the disabled.
Tiki Gelana is an Ethiopian athlete who specializes in long-distance running. She achieved popularity in 2012 when she won the gold medal and created a new Olympic record in the women's marathon event at the Olympic Games in London. From 2012 to 2017, Tiki Gelana held the Ethiopian national record for marathon with a personal best time of 2:18:58.
Ethiopian long-distance runner Ejegayehu Dibaba beat her cousin and two-time Olympic gold medallist Derartu Tulu to clinch the silver medal in the 10,000 m event at 2004 Summer Olympics. Her personal bests also include winning two bronze medals at 2005 World Championships in Athletics over 5000 m and 10000 m respectively, and winning her marathon debut at 2011 Chicago Marathon.
Abeba Aregawi is an Ethiopian-Swedish former athlete who specialized in middle-distance running. She won all her major medals in the 1500 metres event; bronze medal at the 2012 Olympic Games, silver medal at the 2014 European Championship, and a gold medal each at the 2013 World Championship, 2013 European Indoor Championship, and 2014 World Indoor Championship.
Ethiopian politician Birtukan Mideksa began her career as a judge. She chairs the National Election Board of Ethiopia and is a founder-leader of the party Unity for Democracy and Justice. She has spent 7 years in exile in the US after being jailed in Ethiopia for voting irregularities in the 2005 election.
Eleni of Ethiopia was an empress by her marriage to Emperor Zara Yaqob of Ethiopia. She was also a skilled political strategist and diplomat who largely led to the arrival of the Portuguese in Ethiopia and the Ethiopian-Portuguese military cooperation against the Turks. She repaired many churches and oversaw many religious translations.
Ethiopian politician Muferihat Kamil is the incumbent Minister of Labour and Skills Development in Ethiopia. She was the first woman to hold office as Speaker of the House of People's Representatives in Ethiopia. Muferihat also served as Leader of SEPDM; and as first Minister of Peace, a position that led her to oversee agencies like NISS and Federal Police Commission.
Medferiashwork Abebe was the Empress consort of Ethiopia as she was married to Amha Selassie, Emperor-in-exile of Ethiopia. She is credited with organizing a counter attack to oppose the attempted 1960 Ethiopian coup d'etat against Emperor Haile Selassie.
Tiruwork Wube reigned as the empress consort of Ethiopia by her marriage to Emperor Tewodros II, who was once a rival of Tiruwork’s father, Dejazmatch Wube, with regard to the throne of Ethiopia. She came under British protection after the defeat and suicide of her husband.
Ethiopian long-distance runner Fatuma Roba won her very first marathon in 1993. She then won the Olympic gold at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, scripting history as the first African female runner to win an Olympic marathon gold. She also won 3 consecutive Boston Marathons, from 1997 to 1999.
A qualified civil engineer, Ethiopian politician Aisha Mohammed Mussa is the country’s current minister of irrigation and lowland areas development. She has previously led the country as its first female defense minister and has also been Ethiopia’s minister of urban development and construction.
Ethiopian footballer Loza Abera is best known as a forward for the club Nigd Bank. While she began playing football at age 6, she initially had to play as part of teams mostly composed of boys. She made it to the BBC's list of 100 Women in 2020.
A member of the banned left-wing paramilitary group Tigray People's Liberation Front, Ethiopian politician Keria Ibrahim has also headed women’s affairs. She also served as the Speaker of the House of Federation until she resigned and then surrendered to the federal forces, which accused her of treason and corruption.