Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has been highlighted in TIME’s “100 Women of the Year” project, which recognizes “influential women who were often overshadowed” in its past 72 issues of Man of the Year (later renamed to “Person of the Year”).
Sirleaf’s profile highlights her significant contributions in Liberia and her work to empower women worldwide:
“As a woman in a traditionally male environment, Sirleaf embraced her contradictory nicknames—that of Ma Ellen healing her damaged nation, and Liberia’s Iron Lady. With an initial budget of only $80 million, Sirleaf rebuilt key infrastructure and ushered in an economic revival, helped by her savvy negotiation of nearly $5 billion in foreign debt relief. She maintained Liberia’s peace, helped ease its pain and became a Nobel laureate in 2011.”
About the project, TIME explained, “The 100 choices in this project are the result of a months-long process that began with more than 600 nominations submitted by TIME staff; experts in the field; our creative partner, filmmaker Alma Har’el; and a committee of notable women from various backgrounds.”
The project also seeks to more deeply examine the ways in which women held power due to systemic inequality.