ABWW Heroine of the Day: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia
The “Iron Lady of Liberia” is the first female president of an African country. She was elected President in the 2005 presidential election and took office on 16 January 2006 after a brutal civil war and the ousting of the former corrupt President Charles Taylor.
irleaf served as head of the Governance Reform Commission. Sirleaf played an active role in the transitional government as the country prepared for the 2005 elections, and eventually stood for president against her rival the ex-international footballer, George Weah as leader of the Unity Party. Sirleaf won a majority in the election though Weah disputed the results. The announcement of the new leader was postponed until further investigations were carried out.
On 23 November 2005, Sirleaf was declared the winner of the Liberian election and confirmed as the country’s next president. Her inauguration, attended by many foreign dignitaries, including United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and First Lady Laura Bush, took place on 16 January 2006.
In November 2007, she received the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom, the U.S. government’s highest civilian award.