Ellen Johnson Sirleaf served as the President of Liberia from 2016 - 2018, making her the first female President of an African nation. In a Ted Talk titled 'How women will lead us to freedom, justice and peace,' Sirleaf details her experience as a political leader in a time of unrest, and leverages her expertise as an accomplished economist and Noble Peace Prize winner to engage and inform the audience.
Sirleaf begins by outlining the circumstances she was faced with when she came to power, including a collapsed economy and destroyed infrastructure, but above all, Sirleaf grappled with the most vulnerable victims of civil conflict, women and children. Sirleaf explains wanting to put only women in top positions, but knowing it wouldn't be possible, she recruited powerful women to be placed in strategic positions of power. This included the first women Chief of Police, who could address the fears women faced following the civil war, a female economist to lead the debt relief effort, a female Head of Foreign Affairs to repair and rebuild relationships, and to ensure the protection of women moving forward, Sirleaf appointed a female Minister of Gender. Overtime, more women took on leadership roles, and upon realizing there were not enough women with experience to fill a female-only political cabinet, Sirleaf appointed women in junior positions, to set up the next generation of women for success.
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