This week at the Women in the World Summit 2011 Nobel Peace laureate Leymah Gbowee, who led the Women of Liberia’s mass action for peace and stopped more than a decade of brutal civil war, asked where all the angry American women are? She said more women should have been angry and speaking up during the debt ceiling negotiations and in these past few weeks with all these reproductive rights issues. “As long as we continue to engage from a position of weakness, they will never respect us,” Gbowee said of men, speaking at the third annual Women in the World conference. “It is time for women to stop being politely angry. It’s time for us to get up.” She said men should not be allowed to comment on women’s reproductive rights because you should only qualify to talk about it if you have been through the process.
Gbowee, 40, helped end a 14-year war in Liberia in part through tactics such as encouraging women to withhold sex until men agreed to negotiate peace. She shared the 2011 Nobel Prize with Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and Yemen’s Tawakkul Karman for their “non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace- building work,” the Norwegian Nobel Committee said in October. Gbowee arrived in Monrovia at 17 and trained as a trauma counselor for child soldiers from Liberian President Charles Taylor’s army. She’s featured in “Pray the Devil Back to Hell,” a documentary about how Liberian women took on warlords in the civil war, and authored the book “Mighty Be Our Powers: How Sisterhood, Prayer, and Sex Changed a Nation at War.”
Newsweek Editor in Chief and co-host of the summit Tina Brown seemed quite delighted by Leymah’s comments. “You should listen to her!” she said.