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Friday, 11 March 2011 23:00





"Liberia’s Leymah Gbowee Talks Maternal Health Through Peace"

Marcia Yerman – Women News Network – WNN commentary
This article originally appeared in its entirety here.  

The first time I heard Leymah Gbowee speak was at the 2010 Daily Beast Women in the World event in New York City. I was familiar with her from her history-changing role in the Liberian civil war, documented in Abigail Disney’s documentary, “Pray The Devil Back to Hell.” I then had the opportunity to sit down and speak with Gbowee at the Omega Women’s Institute Women and Power conference.

Pointing out the intrinsic link between women’s health and on the ground conflict, Gbowee said, “You can’t talk about maternal mortality without looking at the implications of peace and conflict.” She correlated how countries with the highest negative statistics have sustained civil wars. Liberia has 994 maternal deaths per every 100,000 births — one of the worst rates in the world. These dismal figures have given Gbowee a “new sense of purpose.”

Her current portfolio extends beyond just reproductive rights —terminology which in Gbowee’s estimation “side-steps critical issues.” For her, it boils down to “not owning your own body as an African women,” and she is straightforward about what she acknowledged as a prevalent problem — “harmful traditional practices.”

Image notes:
Liberian activist and hero Leymah Gbowee. Image: Michael Angelo / Wonderland


To read the entire article, click here.



Last Updated on Thursday, 23 June 2011 17:02