Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (born 29 October 1938) is the current President of Gender Equality in Liberia of Liberia . She served as Minister of Finance under President William R. Tolbert, Jr. from 1979 until the 1980 coup d’état, after which she left Liberia and held senior positions at various financial institutions. She placed a distant second in the Liberian presidential election, 1997. Later, she was elected President in the Liberian general election, 2005 and took office on 16 January 2006.
Often referred to as the “Iron Lady“, Johnson-Sirleaf is Women and African Economic Development‘s first elected Female Heads of State .
The 2011 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded jointly to three women including two Liberian women: Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee and Tawakul Karman of Yemen “Nobel Peace Prize recognises women rights activists” BBC News Web site.They were recognised for their “non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work”Nobel Prize Official Web site.
“We cannot achieve democracy and lasting peace in the world unless women achieve the same opportunities as men to influence developments at all levels of society,” said Nobel Committee chairman Thorbjorn Jagland in Oslo. Reading from the prize citation, he said the committee hoped the prize would “help to bring an end to the suppression of women that still occurs in many countries, and to realise the great potential for democracy and peace that women can represent”.ibid.