Lawyer, Women’s Rights Advocate and Policy Advisor
Blen Sahilu is an Ethiopian human rights lawyer and gender expert with over a decade of expertise in academia, movement building, and strategic advocacy. Since 2022 she has served as Deputy Director of Global Programs at the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, focusing on global health, women’s health, and sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Prior to her current role, Blen served as the Senior Advisor on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment to the first female President of Ethiopia. Before that she served in the high-level Legal Advisory Council to the Attorney General for the revision of laws as part of the National Legal Reform project. She was selected by the Prime Minister of Ethiopia to serve as a member of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission of Ethiopia. She was previously a Lecturer and Assistant Dean of the School of Law at Addis Ababa University.
Blen is a Co-founder of The Yellow Movement alongside her students at Addis Ababa University. The Yellow Movement is a grassroots initiative established in 2011 with the aim of creating continuous discussions on issues of gender-based violence and cultural transformation to achieve gender equality. The Yellow Movement is now active in two universities with plans for further expansion.
She is also the Founder and Editor of a new platform – Ekool Ethiopia – that brings together strong and highly trained feminist voices to produce content on gender equality and social justice in local languages.
Blen was trained at Addis Ababa University, University of Michigan School of Law, and the London School of Economics and Political Science. She serves as a mentor to young women activists and works with various non-governmental women’s rights organizations to highlight issues of inequality and gender-based violence in Ethiopia.