This paper argues that the 2005 election of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to the Liberian presidency is best understood in the historical and cultural context of pre-war authority-bearing positions available to women, rather than as an outcome of the Liberian civil war itself. Against a literature that tends to view “traditional” African societies as hostile to both democracy and women’s rights, I contend that gender, conflict, and democracy are inter-twined in more complex relationships. Post-conflict societies such as Liberia are interesting not only as sites of intervention by international organizations seeking to capitalize on the “window of opportunity” available to re-make gender relations, but as places where truly innovative discourses of women’s political participation are likely to emerge.
Our Mothers Have Spoken: Synthesizing Old and New Forms of Women’s Political Authority in Liberia.
Journal of International Women's Studies, 13(4), 51-66.
Available at: http://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol13/iss4/4