Photo: James Duncan Davidson Leymah Gbowee is a 2011 Nobel Peace Prize laureate. Today, she speaks around the world, and people ask about her drive, challenges, moments, and regrets. In 1998 she was a single mother of 4. Three months after her fourth child’s birth, she went to do work as a research assistant in a […]Continue reading
Why you should listen
Liberia's second civil war, 1999-2003, brought an unimaginable level of violence to a country still recovering from its first civil war (1989-96). And much of that violence was directed at women: Systematic rape and brutality used women's bodies as fields for war.
Leymah Gbowee, who'd become a social worker during the first war, helped organize an interreligious coalition of Christian and Muslim women called the Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace movement. Dressed in white, these thousands of women staged pray-ins and nonviolent protests demanding reconciliation and the resuscitation of high-level peace talks. The pressure pushed Charles Taylor into exile, and smoothed the path for the election of Africa’s first female head of state, Leymah's fellow 2011 Nobel Peace laureate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
Gbowee is the co-founder of the Women Peace and Security Network Africa (WIPSEN-Africa) to promote cross-national peace-building efforts.