Politics has almost always been exclusively left to men, nowhere more so than in Africa. In the midst of tremendous turmoil, stable governments haven’t often been the rule on the continent, but it nonetheless saw a monumental achievement on November 23, 2005: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf became the first woman elected chief executive of an African country, the war-torn Liberia. After an unsuccessful run in 1997, Sirleaf hoped to gain the highest office in Liberia in 2005. Running as part of the Unity Party, she took on George Weah, the popular former soccer player who had spent years helping to bring international attention to the country’s plight during its vicious Second Civil War. Though she came in second during the initial voting, Sirleaf managed to win the head-to-head contest in a disputed election. When the official count was revealed on November 23, 2005, she received the honor of being the first woman chosen to lead a nation anywhere in Africa. To read more about Sirleaf’s political career and MapsofWorld’s dedication to this dynamic woman click here.
The leadership of women is certainly not new. History of the world is full of references to queens who have reigned independently and as co-regents to shape the fates of their nations. Ancient Greece, Egypt, India, and many other civilizations document the wisdom and success of their women leaders. The 20th century saw the rise of some exceptional women such as Coco Chanel, Eleanor Roosevelt, Julia Child, Madonna, Marie Curie, Mother Teresa, Rosa Parks, and many others. Most of them went on to become successful leaders. Does gender have anything to do with leadership, though? We attempt to take a look in this insightful infographic.