Leymah Gbowee led a mass open-air womens protest movement which helped end the 14-year war in Liberia in 2003 by shaming the warlords into heeding the womens demands. The movement helped force the president/dictator Charles Taylor into exile, and welcomed in a United Nations pacification force.
Gbowee worked to get Christian and Muslim women to put aside their religious differences and fight the murderers with peace. Dressed in white, the women gathered in public places and prayed, sang, and danced for peace. The Manifesto she bravely read in 1994 in front of the dictator Taylor expressed the sentiments of the group:
We, the women of Liberia, are the mothers of the land. We feel the joys and sorrows of this land in a special way because we are women. Not only do we represent one half of the population, but we also feel a special sense of responsibility for our children, our husbands and our brothers who make up the other half of the population. We take care of the society. We soothe the pains. We are the healers and peacemakers. We call on all women of Liberia at home and abroad to unite and join our efforts in aiding the peace process in Liberia clear to its final hurdle.
Ms. Gbowee said that by giving the Nobel Peace Prize to three women is a recognition that we cant ignore the other half of the worlds population.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia in 2005 was the first woman elected as a head of state in Africa. Perhaps best known by the outside world as the woman who calmed a country ravaged by years of brutal civil war, she also is credited with mounting the negotiations that wiped out the countrys 4.6 billion in foreign debt.
President Sirleafs election in large part was accomplished through the work of women who previously had demonstrated for peace in the midst of the civil wars. Acknowledging the continuing role these women have played in healing Liberia, she said: We particularly give this credit to Liberian women, who have consistently led the struggle for peace, even under conditions of neglect.