Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has noted that women’s leadership often results in more inclusive and empathetic policies that take the full “spectrum of society” into account, and has highlighted the need to recognize, support, and empower today’s women leaders so that more can follow.
Madam Sirleaf shared these insights alongside social innovators, entrepreneurs, and leaders from around the world during the 2021 Skoll World Forum. Centered on the theme of ‘Closing the Distance,’ the Forum explored innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges.
Speaking on behalf of The Elders, Madam Sirleaf was joined during the Forum’s Opening Plenary by former President of Mexico, Ernesto Zedillo, for a discussion about leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic. Commending the many women who led successful COVID-19 response efforts in their countries, Madam Sirleaf shared her view that:
“Collaborative, empathetic leadership is absolutely critical in times of crisis. One of the things that…stood out during the current pandemic this has been strength of women leaders.”
Their conversation also touched on Madam Sirleaf’s experience leading Liberia during the Ebola crisis, her current work as Co-Chair of The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response, and her hopes for a better and safer future.
Other speakers at the Forum included Amujae Leader and former Economy and Finance Minister of the Republic of Guinea, Malado Kaba, Board Chair of the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Foundation and former United States Ambassador to Liberia, Deborah Malac, and EJS Center Board Member and Founding Chair and President of Big Win Philanthropy, Jamie Cooper, who came together for a panel discussion on funder/government power dynamics in sub-Saharan Africa and beyond.
You can watch the Opening Plenary here. The discussion featuring Madam Sirleaf takes place from 28:56–50:33.
You can watch ‘Elephant in the Room: Funder/Government Power Dynamics,’ the panel discussion featuring Ms. Kaba, Ms. Malac, and Ms. Cooper here.