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Gender and Politics: A Not-So-Simple Correlation

Oyeronke Oyewumi


The recent election in Liberia is momentous in more ways than one. Most remarkable is the fact that the election itself took place at all in the wake of a long and bloody civil war. Equally significant is the emergence of Ms. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf as the victorious candidate and thus, the first elected African female president. We must congratulate Mama Ellen on her victory and learn from her perseverance given the fact that this was not the first time she contested elections. For me, the salience of this historic event is the fact that Liberian presidency is no longer out of bounds for women, or to use the language of Nigerian political discourse, the Liberian presidency is no longer a no-go area for women. Perhaps, the surprise is that Liberia beat even Germany, which had its elections more than eight weeks ago, in this great achievement of electing a female leader. And Americans? In the United States, the so-called mother nation of Liberia, female presidency remains a possibility only on a TV Drama, not even a TV Reality Show!!! Against this background, the significance of Mama Ellens political success in Monrovia, then like Mama Wangaris Nobel Peace Prize cannot be over-celebrated. Please, pass the palm wine.

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JENdA: A Journal of Culture and African Women Studies. ISSN: 1530-5686 (online).
Editors: Nkiru Nzegwu; Book Editor: Mary Dillard.

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