Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the “Iron Lady”, is the current and first female president of Liberia. She is also the winner of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize. Sirleaf was born in Liberia in 1939, and married at the age of 17, and had four sons with her husband before they divorced in 1960. [1]

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf attended high school in her hometown of Monrovia, Liberia at The College Of West Africa. After high school, she went to college in the United States and received her bachelor’s in accounting at Madison Business College in Wisconsin. She continued on to earn a degree in economics at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and then a masters in public administration from Harvard University, in 1971.

She began working in politics in 1975 when she joined Liberia’s Treasury Department where she helped manage the government’s finances during a time of financial crisis. After there was a military coup in Liberia, Ellen Sirleaf was President of the Liberian Bank For Development and Investment. In 1985 when she ran for Vice President under Jackson Doe she was sentenced to 10 years in prison when she criticized some of Doe’s regime, however, she was released after one months time and fled to Kenya. In Kenya, Sirleaf continued to work for justice, and the economy as she served as Vice President in Africa’s Regional Office in Nairobi. She then moved to Washington D.C. and was a senior loan officer at the world bank, and by 1992 worked in the United Nations development program. [2]

Ellen Sirleaf returned home in 1997 and joined Charles Taylor’s rebellion against president Doe’s government fraud by helping raise money. At the beginning of Liberia’s first civil war in 1997, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf ran for president for the first time, against Charles Taylor, who won the election. Before running for president a second time, Ellen Sirleaf served as the chairperson for a Government Reform Commission in Liberia. After Liberia’s second world war, Ellen ran for president once more in 2005 and was elected President of Liberia. This officially made Ellen Sirleaf the first female to ever rule an African Nation and the first black female president in the world. [3]

After decades of fighting for freedom and equality in Liberia, while facing many challenges which put her in prison and having to flee the country multiple times, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf officially jumped over barriers holding her down and became president, and earned the name “Iron Lady” for persevering in extremely challenging circumstances [3] . She was re-elected in 2011, and also won the Nobel Peace prize for her non-violent pursuit for women’s rights and peace [1].  In her time as president, she accomplished relieving the government 4 billion dollars in debt, strengthened regional relations, national security, and worked to get children education in a post-war society. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is a very influential woman who persevered in challenging times and earned the name “Iron Lady” for the barriers she has knocked down, and the change in the world she has achieved [4]

   Works Cited
“Ellen Johnson Sirleaf – Facts.” Nobelprize.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2017.
“Iron Lady: The Promise of Liberia’s Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.” World Affairs Journal. N.p.,    n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2017.
“The Nobel Peace Prize for 2011.” Nobelprize.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2017.
Okolo, Julius Emeka. “Liberia: The Military Coup and Its Aftermath.” The World Today 37.4 (1981): 149-57. JSTOR. Web.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s