Africa’s first female president set new course for Liberia. But what about for its women?

By Ryan Lenora Brown| Staff writer|@ryanlenorabrown|

For 12 years, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has presided over peace – and controversy. On the eve of her successor’s election, Liberians say ‘Ma Ellen’ is leaving a mixed legacy, particularly for women.

November 4, 2017 Monrovia, Liberia—Beside a busy strip of road near the downtown of Liberia’s capital city, a tall mural tells the story of the country’s recent history – or at least, someone’s version of it.

“MA ELLEN,” it says in the familiar language Liberians often use to describe their president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. “THANKS FOR THE DEVELOPMENT AND FOR THE PEACE.”

Below the words are a portrait of President Sirleaf, her face creased by smile lines, and a series of idyllic scenes – a lush university campus, a tidy hospital, a bridge flanked by palm trees.

To many who have watched Sirleaf’s career from afar, this is a neat summary of her legacy. Since she became the first woman elected president of an African country in 2005, Sirleaf’s accomplishments have been, in many ways, soaring.

She presided over a dozen years of peace – no small feat given the more than a dozen years of war that preceded them. Her administration built roads and schools and clinics, and convinced the international community to write off nearly $5 billion of Liberia’s wartime debt. There is a Nobel Peace Prize on her mantle. Bono has called her a hero.

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Source: Christian Science Monitor

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About Cholo Brooks 16147 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.