Iron Ladies of Liberia (USA, 2007, 78 mins.) – 25th MIFF

Siatta Scott Johnson, journalist, was devastated about the images of her country -of the decade plus long lasting civil war- going around the world. “It saddens me that when people thinks of Liberia, these are they images that come to their minds” she says on the begining while showing those very same images of the war.  During 2005 the country was in the middle of an election campaing and the two main contenders were ex-football star George Weah and long time politician Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, fondly dubed “the Iron Lady”.  According to the BBC, during the run-off her supporters used to say Ellen had 2 advantages over Weah: she was better educated and she was a woman.  Needless to say she won the elections on 2005 becoming the first female leader of Liberia as well as the first woman president in Africa.

Siata and her team of journalists asked the Iron Lady to allow them to document in film her first year in the presidency, and she said Yes.

Iron Ladies of Liberia is a documentary film that shows that first year of deep struggle and huge challenges to begin the process of taking a country devastated by the civil war back on its feet, liderated by Mrs. Johnson Sirleaf as president and her team of iron ladies as heads of the Police, Commerce, Finance and Justice ministries.

Liberia, a country founded in 1847 by freed slaves from the US, is reach in some very sought after natural resources as rubber, gold and emeralds but has been torn appart by corrupt leaders and civil wars. “The men of this country have failed us -says Siatta at one point. There are few things they can do and the ones they can are not nice”.

Can a woman do a “man’s job”? you may ask. Well… as of the end of 2007 there were 11 women elected in power, in countries all around the world (Ireland, New Zeland, Finland, The Philippines, Mozambique, Germany, Liberia, Chile, Switzerland, India and Argentina).  In the case of Iron Ladies of Liberia, I’d say go watch the movie and judge for yourself. It is worthy.

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