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April 28, 2007

Women Who Rule

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Women Who Rule The World

Photo Credit: I. Sanogo/AFP/Getty Image

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THE PRODIGAL DAUGHTER: Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, 67 president of Liberia; elected November 8, 2005

STICKING TO HER GUNS: Born and raised in war-torn Liberia, Johnson-Sirleaf received a graduate degree in economics from Harvard, then returned home, determined to fight her country’s violence and poverty. Jailed twice, she narrowly escaped a rape attempt by a soldier who had executed her cellmates.

STICKING POINT: Her association with Charles Taylor, Liberia’s ex-president, now awaiting trial for war crimes. She helped fund his rebel faction before breaking ties.

CAMPAIGN PLEDGES: Tougher sentences for rape, which was used as a weapon during the country’s civil war; clamping down on corruption; and shedding light: Monrovia, Liberia’s capital city, had been without a government-supplied power source since the early 1990s, due to the civil war. Some power was restored in July.

SIGNATURE STYLE: Indigenous chic. Wore a gold-embroidered national costume and matching head scarf on her first official visit to Washington.

WHO WOULD PLAY HER IN THE MOVIE: Whoopi Goldberg


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