Everything You Must Know About Liberia’s Iron Lady, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a woman politician and economist, is the incumbent president of the small West African country, Liberia. She is one of the most powerful and influential women in the world: The world’s first elected black female president and Africa’s first elected female head of state. Sirleaf has been the president of Liberia for almost a decade now, that is, since 16th January, 2006. The aforementioned are some of the common things all those that have heard about Ellen Sirleaf already know. However, there are a lot of lesser known facts about this great woman I bet you never knew and will love to know. Here are 10 significant facts you must know about Ellen Johnson Sirleaf:


She was born Ellen Johnson on October 29, 1938, in Monrovia, Liberia, to a lawyer and teacher parents. Ellen is of a mixed decent – a Liberian (Gola) father and a German mother. Her father, Jahmale Carney Johnson was the first indigenous Liberian to sit in the national legislature.


Marriage/Personal life

Ellen Johnson, at age 17 married James Sirleaf, that was in 1956. The marriage produced four sons who came in successions. Around 1961, she left for the US with her husband to pursue further studies, leaving their kids in the care of their grannies. While her husband pursued a graduate degree from the University of Wisconsin’s School of Agriculture, Ellen studied accounting at the Madison College of Business. Few years later on their return to Liberia, they had issues bordering on Ellen’s career and she filed for divorce. She currently has six grandchildren, some of whom live in Atlanta, Georgia. She is an aunt to American actress/comic Retta (born Marietta Sirleaf, the actress who portrays “Donna” on NBC’s Parks and Recreation.

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