Liberian president: ‘In 10 years we want half of all presidents to be female’

Ellen Johnson SirleafLiberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (pictured) called for more education for girls and outlined her plans to make her country Ebola-free by 15 April in an interview on the occasion of her visit to the Parliament. On 4 March Johnson Sirleaf met EP President Martin Schulz and also participated in a meeting related to the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly. She also found time to tell us about her country’s battle against Ebola and her message for this year’s International Women’s Day.

What is the current situation concerning Ebola in Liberia?

Today, there have not been any new cases for a period of seven to ten days. We feel that we have taken the necessary measures. But we also know that we cannot be complacent and that Liberia is not totally free of Ebola until the other two countries that are affected have similar success and we are able to get the number of cases down to zero. We hope to achieve this within sixty days.  Our target is 15 April.

Beyond that we are going to put economic recovery in our regional programme, because all of our economies have been affected by Ebola. Those programmes will involve not only building our health care system, but also our infrastructures, education and agriculture. The private sector is going to be a major objective of our economic recovery.

This weekend we mark International Women’s Day and the Parliament’s main topic this year is empowering women and girls through education. What is your opinion on this as a woman and as president of Liberia?

I am a very strong advocate of girl’s education. When I gave my message to our parliament in January I said that the government is going to formulate a policy that will give free education to all our girls to high school, because retaining girls in education beyond secondary school is always a problem. As part of the celebrations for International Women’s Day, I will be calling for more support for girl’s education and I believe my own experience is a good example.

How many more female presidents would you like to see in the coming years?

In the next year, if we can get two or three I would be happy. But in ten years’ time we want half of all president in the world to be female.

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Category: A Frontpage, Ebola, EU, European Commission, European Parliament, Health, Politics, Women's rights, World

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