President, Liberia

Liberia

Now is the time to step up our efforts…to address the issue of women's health, gender, and human rights, in order to achieve a rapid and tangible impact in Africa…and prevent the personal tragedies of children having to grow up without their mothers, of families who live with the pain of needlessly losing a sister, or a cousin, or a daughter.

— Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

 

Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is the current President of Liberia, elected in 2005. She was the first woman elected president of any country in Africa. Previously, she served as minister of finance from 1979 until the 1980 coup d'état. Upon leaving Liberia, she served as the director of the Regional Bureau for Africa of the United Nations Development Programme. The "Iron Lady," as her supporters call her, served as head of the Governance Reform Commission, which worked to help end Liberia's civil war in 2003. She has been an advocate for good governance and women's rights throughout her political career.