Throughout Liberiaâ€™s history, women have played significant roles in Liberian and World history. Unfortunately, their stories are not as widely known as those of their male counterparts.
Some untold stories include Alpha Brownell (Liberiaâ€™s first female architect), Frankie Ross (the first female magazine vendor), and Nancy Anderson (the first female mortician). In recognition of International Womenâ€™s Day (March 8), The Bush Chicken has dedicated a week to recognizing the contributions and struggles of Liberian women. Below is a diverse selection of women we think you should know.
1. Madame Nyesuah Koko
The renowned warrior chief was said to have mastered the traditional arts so well that she was considered a â€œZoeâ€ (a powerful traditional doctor). She assisted the Liberian army in campaigns to claim areas now known as Bong, Nimba, and Lofa. She also contributed to the establishment of Cuttington University. The town of Suakoko was named after her.
2. Angie Brooks
Brooks is the first and only female African president of the United Nations General Assembly. Brooks was a lawyer who also served in many prominent government positions, including Assistant Attorney General and Assistant Secretary of State.
3. Ruth Sando Perry
Before President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf made history as Africaâ€™s first elected female president, Ruth Sando Perry became the first female head of state in Africa. She beat two male contestants to be elected as head of the transitional government, serving from September 3, 1996 until August 2, 1997, when Charles Taylor took over as president.
4. Adenah Bayoh
Bayoh left Liberia at age 12 during the civil war and in 2008, became one of the youngest IHOP franchisees at the age of 27. Her real estate company now has a portfolio worth over US$225 million. She was also appointed to the Federal Reserve Bank of New Yorkâ€™s Small Business and Agricultural Advisory Council.
5. Matee Ajavon
Ajavon was born in Monrovia, Liberia and moved to the United States when she was 6. She graduated from Rutgers University, helping her team reach the national championship in 2007. She was selected 5th overall in the Womenâ€™s National Basketball Association draft in 2008.
Featured photo byÂ Marta B. Haga/Utenriksdepartementet