Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
The Liberian politician was the first female head of state in Africa and served as the 24th President of Liberia from 2006 to 2018. She was co-awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with Leymah Gbowee of Liberia and Tawakkol Karman of Yemen “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.”
In addition to serving as Liberian president, she was elected first woman Chair of the Economic Community of West African States in 2016. Sirleaf was conferred the Indira Gandhi Prize by Indian President Pranab Mukherjee in 2013 and was Forbes magazine’s 83rd-most powerful woman in the world in 2016. In 2017, she won the Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African leadership for “exceptional and transformative leadership against a backdrop of unprecedented and renewed challenges”.