Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf recently delivered a briefing to the African Women Leaders Network (AWLN) Consultation on Response to COVID-19, highlighting the crucial role that women are playing in combatting the pandemic.
Madam Sirleaf – who is a Patron of the AWLN – was joined by a group of high-profile African women leaders, including former President of Malawi Dr. Joyce Banda, and former President of the Central African Republic Catherine Samba-Panza, who both serve as Amujae Coaches. Together they took part in a series of briefings and interactive panels discussing the impact of COVID-19 on areas such as women’s leadership, governance, youth, development, and security.
In her briefing, Madam Sirleaf praised the AWLN’s ability to convene transformative consultations and emphasized the need for women’s leadership to go further. She said:
“We are working together to help enhance and increase women’s leadership and foster change across Africa. Today, no one can dispute that women’s leadership in this crisis has pushed aside a silo mentality and ensured the impetus for global solidarity and for an effective response to the virus.
“Women are mobilizing in their countries and communities, as they were the first to understand that the virus sees all people the same, each are as vulnerable as each other – a terrible but reliable equality. I am not surprised by the mobilization. This is the norm for women, we know we just have to do the best we can with what we have.
“Many have spoken of the time of this vicious virus as a time to push the reset button. The reset that would show that gender equality is the norm. And that women leaders and women presidents would become the new tradition, and not the exception.”
Learn more about the actions being taken to combat COVID-19 by women and men within the EJS Center’s network here.