I first heard Gbowee in the book Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead. Sheryl Sandberg asks her about what women in American could do to help those who experienced the horrors and mass rapes of war in places like Liberia (it’s on page 10 of Lean In). Gbowee’s response surprised me.
More women in power.
It seemed like a strange answer to me but it does get better explained later in Sandberg’s book. More women in power means more women able to see what can sometimes be transparent to men and what could also help other women. Normalizing that power might just open up all sorts of possibilities.
I later heard Gbowee mentioned in a great TEDtalk by Kavita Ramdas called Radical Women, embracing tradition. The moment mentioned in the talk is expounded upon in the Gbowee’s memoir, featured at the top. When I finally listened to Gbowee’s memoir, I had completely forgotten about these two prior mentions and had to go back to them. I remembered the story from the talk most of all. It’s a powerful moment.
Leymah Gbowee is an amazing woman and a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. I read her memoir last year and so much of it has stayed with me. I feel like everyone should read it, but especially women. There is so much controversy over whether or not women are powerful as women or if we must pretend to be men. Anyone who isn’t sure needs to read about the life of Leymah Gbowee.