Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Women and Gender

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Question: Your Excellency President Johnson Sirleaf, as the first woman to be elected leader of an African country in modern history and a Nobel Peace Prize-winning advocate for women’s rights, you are a role model for women everywhere. With International Women’s Day on March 8, what is your message today for the youth and women of Africa?

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf: To ensure that they get the best education possible – quality education – to enable us to increase the level of our participation, particularly among women in our society at all levels, to ensure that we become more competitive nationally and regionally. My message is to continue to pursue aggressively the skills, the education, the capacity that will make Africa as competitive in the world as any other region.

Question: Do you think African governments are devoting enough resources to the mainstreaming of gender and women’s issues in development?

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf: No, I think we can do more. There’s been a significant increase in the resources for gender equality, but it still has not reached the level where we can say that we have achieved the goals that we have set for ourselves. Even the disaggregation to ensure that we can even examine the level of support that goes towards our gender equality programs can use a lot of improvement. So each country has to work more and more on that.