Our Mothers Have Spoken: Synthesizing Old and New Forms of Women’s Political Authority in Liberia


Moran, Mary. 2012. “Our Mothers Have Spoken: Synthesizing Old and New Forms of Women’s Political Authority in Liberia.” Journal of International Women’s Studies 13 (4): 51–66.

Author: Mary Moran


This paper argues that the 2005 election of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to the Liberian presidency is best understood in the historical and cultural context of pre-war authority-bearing positions available to women, rather than as an outcome of the Liberian civil war itself. Against a literature that tends to view “traditional” African societies as hostile to both democracy and women’s rights, I contend that gender, conflict, and democracy are inter-twined in more complex relationships. Post-conflict societies such as Liberia are interesting not only as sites of intervention by international organizations seeking to capitalize on the “window of opportunity” available to re-make gender relations, but as places where truly innovative discourses of women’s political participation are likely to emerge.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Democracy / Democratization, Gender, Women, Governance, Elections, International Organizations, Political Participation, Post-Conflict, Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Liberia

Year: 2012

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