Welcome

Come on and join author Melissa Bradley as she sets off on her latest adventure...

WARNING

If you are not 18, please exit stage left. While there is normally nothing naughty here, I do write and review erotica so there are links to spicy stuff and the occasional heated excerpt.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Inspirational Women

I am an ardent feminist, Girl Power to the core. If there's a rally for women somewhere, I'll be there or be writing about it. Here, I often write of strong women and badass bitches I love in television and on film. Women who kick ass and take no prisoners. Today I am taking some time to honor three of the strongest women in this world. Their courage and fortitude humbles me and simply cannot be measured. Tawakul Karman, Leymah Gwobee and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf were selected to be the recipients of this year's Nobel Peace Prize. They have worked tirelessly in their countries for the rights of women, risking their very lives to blaze a trail into the darkness of oppression that shines with the power of a thousand spotlights.


Words cannot express the profound joy I feel at seeing these three women from two nations known for their ruthless suppressive governments, receive one of the greatest awards in the world.

Tawakul Karman is a Muslim woman who has risen to become the face of Yemen's pro-democracy movement. She has been honored as the "Mother of Yemen's Revolution" and holds a position on the central committee of her country's Islah (Reform) Party. Something that was unheard of just a few years ago. Although she helped kick things off with the Day of Rage on February 3 of this year, the truth is she had been working tirelessly the year before holding protests at the Girl's College of Sana'a University for the rights and freedoms of women. Since 2007 she has led demonstrations against censorship and the right to create a free radio station. These demonstrations were often met with violence, yet she never waivered and now the Yemeni people stand on the precipice of taking back their country from its oppressive rulers. Sahar Tarman has a wonderful article about Tawakul here.

Leymah Gwobee began her activism in a fish market outside Liberia's capital of Monrovia nine years ago. It was there that she, along with thousands of Liberian women began to make their voices heard. They dressed in white and sat, singing and praying within earshot of the dictator, Charles Taylor. Rain or shine, they stayed, protesting the 14 years of war their country had endured. In 2003 she led hundreds of women to Monrovia's city hall demanding an end to the violence. When at last they confronted Taylor and the other warring factions, the Accra Peace accord was signed. She now serves on Liberia's Truth and Reconciliation Commission and is executive director of Women in Peace and Security Network, an organization that works with women in Liberia Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast. Tamasin Ford has a great article here in the Guardian profiling Gwobee.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is the first democratically elected woman to lead the nation of Liberia and the first female Head of State on the continent of Africa. At 17 she had been married to James Sirleaf, who brought her to the United States in 1961. Here she studied economics, receiving an eventual Masters from Harvard in Public Administration. She returned to Liberia where she served as Assistant Minister of Finance and Minister of Finance under William Tolbert. She survived a brutal coup which took the life of Tolbert and fled her country in November 1980. After working for the World Bank, Citibank and HSBC throughout the 80's and early 90's, she was appointed to the United Nations Development Programme where she served as assistant, then as director of the Regional Bureau for Africa. In 1999 she was appointed by the Organization for African Unity as part of a prominent team to investigate the Rwandan genocide. She became President of Liberia in 2005 and in 2006 created the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate the brutal crimes carried out during Liberia's Civil War. The New York Times has a great profile of her here.

20 comments:

  1. What an awesome, awesome post! So glad you've featured them here.

    ReplyDelete
  2. @M.J. Thank you very much! I'm so happy you enjoyed this piece. I love focusing on strong women and these ladies just blew me away.

    ReplyDelete
  3. It's nice having Nobel Peace Prize Winners who don't have blood on their hands, like Obama who killed thousands of innocent Iraqi and Libyan kids and people after winning the prize, or Marti Ahtisari who brought so many suffering and deaths to Serbian people in Kosovo :(

    ReplyDelete
  4. President of Liberia? That's impressive. At least these women earned their Nobel Peace Prize. The Al Gore thing was a joke.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Impressive women! That's how you change the world. :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. @Dez Yes, having truly peaceful winners of this award is amazing. The courage to be a truly peaceful activist is astonishing.

    @Alex It is impressive, isn't it? Now if only we could get a woman elected here...:) Yeah, Al was not the Peace award type.

    ReplyDelete
  7. @L.G. Indeed that is how the world gets changed. :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks for spotlighting these amazing women!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Your blog should be required reading in every household.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I too am grateful to you for this post, Melissa. These women are so inspiring - to say the least. I'm smiling about the fact that they all won the Nobel Peace prize. It feels good knowing that.
    xoRobyn

    ReplyDelete
  11. Wow, very inspiring post, Mel. Those three women have done such an amazing things, it's crazy. Although I'm a guy, I've always like the phrase 'Girl Power'. It sounds so cool and uplifting. :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. All jokes aside, I'm down with the cause, too, and must say that these three ladies were great picks for the award this year....

    ReplyDelete
  13. Terrific post! I am not the most news savvy guy on the block, so I can't say I was aware of these women and the incredible work they've done - but now I am - thanks for reminding me there's a real world outside the pop culture one - and people like these women who work to make it a better one every day!

    ReplyDelete
  14. @Kelly I'm so happy you enjoyed this post. :)

    @KC Aww...Glad you liked this one. It's one of my favorite posts.

    @Gene Pool Wow!! Thank you so much for the very high praise. I am humbled by your words. :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. @Robyn It makes me happy that I have touched people like you with this post. It was one of my favorites to do because I believe that we need to inspire each other as women.

    @Nebular I love that term, too. It makes me feel empowered. Thank you so much for your thoughts, sweetie. Your words meant a lot. :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. @Andrew I'm glad the Nobel Committee selected individuals who have really embodied the spirit of the award.

    @Craig Thank you so much for your thoughts. I, too, need to get my head out of pop culture every now and then. :) These women are extraordinary and their accomplishments just stunning. It's inspiring as a woman to see fellow sisters being honored like this.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Viva! Viva! Viva! So proud that two of the three are women of Africa!

    My nephew has just come back from a trip to Liberia (he's a mining engineer) and says it is a wonderful vibrant country. Of course, it has a woman president! :)

    Judy, South Africa

    ReplyDelete
  18. Amazing women! Some had to struggle for years to see results but with such strength, they never gave up! Yay!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I'm so inspired by these women and their accomplishments. It drives me to do better. Thanks for sharing this.

    ReplyDelete

I love, love comments, so please leave your thoughts. I may not always be able to answer directly, but please know that what you say is very important to me.