Despite recent advancements in their political representation, women are still underrepresented in the highest positions of power in governments and legislatures.
To discuss women’s critical role at the highest levels of leadership, former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf joined former US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and former Prime Minister of Australia Julia Gillard in a recent panel at the Clinton Foundation’s ‘Women’s Voices Summit.’
The panel addressed women leaders’ crucial contributions to improving health and education policies and promoting equity. This is key to improving socio-economic conditions and benefitting all members of society.
Looking back on her leadership journey as a Liberian woman leader, Madam Sirleaf said that education had a transformative effect on her life and laid the groundwork for her future success as a leader:
“There was no stopping me. Once I had an education, I wanted to make sure that I had a position… a place and a role.”
As the first democratically elected woman president of an African nation, Madam Sirleaf put education at the center of her efforts to rebuild her country following years of devastating civil war:
“I knew that in my case I had to start to prepare a generation that had been left behind—and those were girls. So one of my first policy actions was to make primary education free and compulsory.”
Asked by Secretary Clinton to conclude with a call to action, Madam Sirleaf urged global leaders to undertake the legal and policy actions that will ensure the promotion of women’s leadership and the protection of girls.
Watch the full panel discussion here.