Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is the first female president of Liberia who served from 2006 to 2018. She is also the first elected female head of state in Africa. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was born in Monrovia in 1938 into the family of Jahmale Carney Johnson. She studied in the college of West Africa from 1948 to 1955. Ellen married at the age of 17 and had her four sons with her husband before moving over to the United States to study at Madison Business College and at Harvard University. Due to domestic violence she suffered from her marriage, Ellen Sir leaf divorced in the year 1961.
After her stay in the United States, Ellen Sirleaf returned to Liberia to work under the administration of William Tolbert as the deputy minister of finance from the year 1971 to 1974. Afterward, she proceeded to work for the World Bank in the Carribean and Latin America. Ellen also came back to serve again in William Tolbert’s administration as the deputy minister of finance before she was promoted to the post of minister of finance from the year 1979 to 1980. During the coup d’etat in Liberia, Sirleaf fled to the United States where she worked for the Citibank and the equator bank before she returned in 1985 to contest for the senatorial seat representing the Montserrado County in Liberia. Sirleaf proceeded to contest for the presidential seat in 2005 a feat she won and was also reelected in 2011.
Aside from her achievements in Liberia, Sirleaf was also the first woman to be elected as the chair of (ECOWAS) the economic community of West African states. She has received a number of awards which includes the Noble Peace Prize Award and the Indira Gandhi Prize. She was also the 83rd most powerful woman in the world according to 2016 Forbes’ list.
Although her administration as a president was not full of roses as it faced the accusation of corruption and nepotism, there are still many testimonies of how she brought peace into Liberia by putting an end to the 14 years of barbaric, drug-fuelled and chaotic wars. She also signed a tough rape law and an executive order against domestic violence. The only law Ellen passed that was not granted was the law against female mutilation especially those within the age range of 18 years.
Above all, as indicated above, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has left a massive footprint in the tide history. Ellen Sir leaf story is motivational one for all young girls in Africa and beyond who aims to reach for greatness.