In awe of the strong women of Liberia


It has been over a month now since I came back from Liberia where I had the wonderful privilege of attending the inauguration of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Nobel peace prize winner and remarkable stateswoman starting her 2nd term in office. President Sirleaf is in her 7th decade. Now that is what I call aging in style!

I recall sitting under a dais in 90 degree weather, trying to look dignified among the foreign dignitaries, the heads of States, and Hilary Clinton in attendance. The ceremony was progressing ever so slowly and I started to dream of a world where women heads of state would be a common place occurence and where wise women in their 6th and 7th decade made the decisions that impacted our lives on this planet. One of the President’s advisors told me at a breakfast meeting the next day that Madam S. had shared with her how she would get so much more done if she had more women in senior posts! Unfortuately, not many were elected.

Working with women in politics here in Canada, I get the same response. Where are the women, why aren’t young women entering the fray? One of the main reasons of course is the toll this calling takes on women’s personal lives. So…it may be time for mature women to get involved. Mature women tend to have more freedom once the children are gone. Mature women don’t care much about what others think of them. Mature women get passionate about what they believe in, and will say it like it is!

So this mature women has decided to become more deliberate about supporting women in Canada, and also in West Africa, where she will be going back to do what she can to make a difference. I was in awe of the big, bold women of Liberia, their victory over tyranny and atrocities, their determination to take control of their lives in challenging conditions. (A picture here with Leymah Gbowee, the other Nobel Peace Prize winner -an extraodinary woman of Pray the Devil Back to Hell fame. The other picture of Madame Sirleaf at the Inauguration).

What excuse do I have to stay on the sidelines. Time to act. My sister Gabriella has just come back from Haïti where she has gotten involved in the Consolation Centre for orphaned girls. Way to go!

Bold women out there, share with me how you are getting involved and making a difference. An inspiration for all of us!