Leymah Gbowee

Activist and winner of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize Liberia

Leymah Gbowee is a Liberian peace activist and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. In 2002, angered by the civil war that had been raging in her country for most of her adult life, the then 30-year-old social worker and mother of four (she now has seven children) organised a march of Christian and Muslim women on the capital, with a sit-in that lasted for months. Thousands of women prayed, camped and went on a sex strike. Their actions led President Charles Taylor, who was responsible for much of the violence, to agree to attend peace negotiations in neighbouring Ghana. When it was evident the talks were getting nowhere, Gbowee organised her ‘troops’ to blockade the meeting room and hold the negotiators ‘hostage’ until agreement was reached.

The women’s actions led to the removal of Taylor and the inauguration of the first woman president of an African country, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, with whom Gbowee shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011.