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Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s Plan to Help African Women Reach the Top

Liberia’s former president will launch a plan on Sunday to help other African women reach the top in a continent dominated by male heads of state. Johnson Sirleaf, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, became Africa’s first elected female head of state in 2006 and stepped down in 2018 in the war-scarred West African state’s first peaceful democratic transition in seven decades. “We’re creating this wave of women who are ready to take high-level leadership positions in society, and they’re going to do it unabashedly, they’re going to go for it intentionally,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone. In its first year, the initiative will provide mentorship to 15 women leaders, with the support of two other female former presidents: Malawi’s Joyce Banda and Catherine Samba-Panza of Central African Republic.