Questions for Ellen John Sirleaf


NYTimes Magazine: Madame President

What does that say about the inherent character of men? [referring to the young Liberian boys who raped an 8-year old Liberian refugee in Phoenix, AZ]: I just think that unless you have that cohesiveness in the family unit, the male character tends to become very dominant, repressive and insensitive. So much of this comes also from a lack of education. As more men become more educated and women get educated, teh value system has to be more enhanced and the respect for human dignity and humsirleafan life is made better.

If women ran the world, would wars still exist? No. I think it would be a better, safer and more productive world. A woman would bring extra dimension to that task – and that’s a sensitivity to humankind. It comes from being a mother.

But if women had the power, they would be more likely to acquire the negative traits that breed power, like selfishness and territorialism.  It would take a very long term of women absolutely in power to get to the place where they became men.


the stripped down, basic feminist slant is too obvious here: the physical differences mean an inherent psychological, mental difference, the venus vs. mars argument. its a bit troublesome that the NYTimes, already well-accused and known for its liberal, ‘radical’ bias, ends this article with “INTERVIEW HAS BEEN CONDENSED AND EDITED”, but its still telling that the leader of Liberia believes in the inherent differences between men and women, and that they affect government and societal operation.

much of Sirleaf’s words about the nature of female leadership reminds me of Justice Sotomayor’s infamous “Wise Latina” comment. it’s not just being a parent that brings out a certain humanity and “sensitivity to humankind’,-> it’s being a mother. she continues by saying the differences are so stark, even if women ruled the world, it’d take us a ‘very long term’ [which i’m thinking means thousands of years], to get to the level of deep problems and ‘inherently’ dangerous cycles of injustice, and conflict we have today in a world that has been ruled and dominated by men. Sirleaf’s comments are indeed inflammatory and easily offensive that she treats the inherent different nature of men and women so superficially. But she does bring in the importance of the family unit, and literacy. she is railing against men as the source for why the world and  society/culture are the way they are today. but moreover, i think she’s calling for a better and stronger education across the board.


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