Liberia: Former President Sirleaf Takes Steps To Ensure Women Aim For Higher Leadership Positions


MONROVIA – Former Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has disclosed that she will shortly launch a center for the empowerment of women in leadership through adequate programming, research, advocacy and exhibition.

She named the center to be launched in the country as the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf Center for Women and Development.

According to her, the center will accord opportunities to Liberian women in leadership to aim for higher positions in rendering their respective services to the nation and its people.

Madam Sirleaf made these comments when she appeared as a guest on the program50-50 on Sky FM.

She pointed out that the initiative is an amalgamation of various areas, will enable Liberian women to achieve their goals through imploring of better strategies.

 “I am going to be launching the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf Presidential Center for Women and Development. The key objective of that center is to provide opportunities for women in leadership; to change their positions and get the highest leadership positions in service. We are doing this through the combination of programming, research, advocacy, and exhibition”

“In programming, we have the means of being able to bring women together to be able to promote and support them; to enable them to achieve their goals through better strategizing and larger profiles. That’s the Amujay”. 

On Library

She disclosed that as part of the project, a library would be set up to encourage Liberian scholars to read the intellectual works of others.

Madam Sirleaf recounted her ambition to establish a library, and said, several books will be put together to accord citizens the opportunity to also read the autobiographies and biographies of others.  

“In the area of research; you know I always thought of having a library. All my many years of public service, international and domestic, I collected a wide range of books-autobiographies, biographies, professional books and magazines. I want to put those books together where Liberian and international scholars can have the opportunity to come and read the books of others. I don’t have all of the books written by Liberian authors, but I hope over time that I can obtain most of them so people can read about what their own citizens wrote about our history, country, their ambition and experiences”.

The Archives

At the same time, the former Liberian leader has disclosed that an archive comprising of “presidential papers” will be set up to showcase some of her successes, challenges, and formal communications she wrote during her 12-year regime.

She added that her degrees, medals, and others will also be on exhibition at the center.

She pointed out that the move is intended to encourage and motivate women to continue to strive to achieve their goals.  

“The archives are presidential papers. For 12 years I was President. I wrote and put a lot on paper. I developed a lot of how I managed as a leader, what I did, how are communicated, some of my successes and challenges are all into that. We want to preserve those presidential papers for future generations. Let people come and read what the President did”. 

Madam Sirleaf maintained: “I am glad that I got the approval of President Weah for us to access them. We’re working with some universities, like Harvard University to make sure that they are preserved here. Part of the exhibition will be my own medals, degrees and all of that. All of this is meant to encourage women to see that they can achieve a whole lot; they can really rise up and be what they want to be if they just set their goals”. 

Stereotyping of women

Speaking further Madam Sirleaf observed that though women are competing with their male counterparts in terms of leadership, several obstacles and stereotyping have prevented them from reaching the highest level.

She attributed the situation to male-dominance not only in Liberia but across the world.

She added that though women are gradually breaking the ceiling by occupying key leadership positions not only in politics but in the churches, corporate institutions, amongst others.

“We have women leaders now as Chief Executives of Business Corporations, so many women are Pastors, but it’s now enough. We don’t have the wave of women ready to take public positions. That’s why Amujay is to create opportunities for women in leadership to be able to achieve their goals and to be able to be in the highest position of leadership. ”.

Madam Sirleaf, however, disclosed that the inaugural session of her group named and styled “Amunjay” will take place this Sunday in Liberia.

According to her, the launch will bring together about 15 women from across Africa who are already leaders in different positions in politics and other professional areas.

She disclosed that at the launch of the center, women in leadership will sit and talk with others to share experiences on their advancement or ascendancies.

Madam Sirleaf added that networking will also be established to enable the participants to be in touch with another.

“What we now need are enough number of women ready to be able to take public positions at all levels in society. Amunjay is going to help them to do that”.

Meanwhile, Madam Sirleaf has urged citizens to create a love for their country and encourage media practitioners to ensure that the truth is their guide.

She said citizens must positively do what they can and avoid creating confusion if they want their country to succeed.

According to her, noise or confusion will continue to scare away investors from Liberia.