Leymah Gbowee

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Leymah Gbowee

Leymah Gbowee is a peace activist in Africa, responsible for organizing a peace movement that brought an end to the Second Liberian Civil War in 2003 and led to the election of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in Liberia, the first African nation with a female president. In 2011, she was one of three women awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.


  • Women are the ones that bear the greatest burden. We are also the ones who nurture societies.
    • Interview for Women's E News, 21 Leaders for the 21st Century (2008)
  • Regardless of whom you pray to, during war our experiences as a community and as mothers are the same.
    • Gruber Foundation, Women's Rights Prize (2009)
  • If any changes were to be made in society it had to be by the mothers.
    • Gruber Foundation, Women's Rights Prize (2009)
  • We are all responsible. We are all complicit. White T-shirts catch the light. What matters is what we then do with that light. (The peace activists wore white t-shirts during their protests.)
    • Interview for The Daily Beast (April 5, 2010)
  • We have a saying: “A single straw of a broom can be broken easily, but the straws together are not easily broken.” So here are three things African women can do to support their sisters and daughters:
    1. Join the support network even if your own community is not plagued with conflict or violence. Most women only take action ::when their own communities are threatened. This must stop if we are to tackle the ills that are plaguing our African ::society. We must ignite the spirit of “Ubuntu”—“I am what I am because of who we all are.”
    2. Develop a solid and consistent leadership base. The leadership of most African women’s initiatives functions very well ::during times of crisis, but tends to disintegrate after a huge success is scored. Movement leaders, even myself, made our ::own plans for self-advancement. It is time that the leadership of African women’s initiatives plans for succession.
    3. Reach out to the un-converted. My final point comes from my 12-year-old daughter. For her, the feminist message is not ::filtering very well to potential victims, perpetrators, and government leaders. She believes—and I agree—that we speak ::loudest at women’s conferences and other spaces already filled with the converted. But we must speak to everyone, ::everywhere, about the struggles of African women.
    • Interview for The Daily Beast (April 5, 2010)

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