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Iron Ladies of Liberia
A film by Siatta Scott Johnson and Daniel Junge, Produced by Henry Ansbacher & Jonathan Stack
2007, 77 minutes, Color, DVD, Liberian English, Subtitled
Order No. W09941
After surviving a 14-year civil war and a government riddled with corruption, Liberia is ready for change. On January 16, 2006, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was inaugurated President – the first freely elected female head of state in Africa. Having won a hotly contested election with the overwhelming support of women across Liberia, Sirleaf faces the daunting task of lifting her country from debt and devastation. She turns to a remarkable team of women, appointing them in positions such as police chief, finance minister, minister of justice, commerce minister and minister of gender.

With exclusive access, directors Siatta Scott Johnson and Daniel Junge follow these “Iron Ladies” behind the scenes during their critical first year in office as they tackle indolent bureaucracy, black markets and the omnipresent threat of violent riots. Highlighting the challenges that African countries currently face, this film provides an uplifting example of women who have become the backbone of change. As the filmmakers explore a historic transition from authoritarianism to democracy, the viewer is treated to a joyous, inspirational testimony of the political power of women's leadership and diplomacy.


AFI Dallas Int'l Film Festival, Target Ten Filmmaker, Best Doc
One World Int’l Human Rights Documentary Film Festival, Prague, Best Film from One World for Schools

  • Toronto Int’l Film Festival
  • International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA)
  • Human Rights Watch Int'l Film Festival, London
  • Miami Int'l Film Festival
  • Mill Valley Film Festival
  • Silverdocs Documentary Festival
  • Denver Film Festival
  • Bermuda Int'l Film Festival
  • Cleveland Int'l Film Festival
  • Woodstock Film Festival
  • Hopkins Film Center, NH
  • United Nations Association Film Festival
  • SF Women's Film Festival

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    "Excels in depicting the complex and difficult journey of women in political office.”
    Jocelyn Parkhurst
    Ph.D., Lewis-Clark State College

    “****1/2 stars. A compelling and greatly informative update on what’s going on in Liberia”
    Magnus Wolfe Murray
    Eye for Film

    "A unique look behind the scenes at the rebirth of a nation and democracy in action."
    Woodstock Film Festival

    “Her story is inspiring a new generation of leaders in Africa and around the world."
    Silverdocs Film Festival

    Recommended. [O]f interest to students of international studies, political science and history, especially those interested in post conflict government and social issues related to reparation following civil war.”
    Sue F. Phelps
    Educational Media Reviews Online

    “This documentary (featuring English subtitles) follows the first year of Sirleaf’s presidency, showing how her administration dealt with violent military threats, government corruption, and other daunting issues….This powerful and inspirational look at political transition is suggested for college world-studies and political classes and for viewers interested in international affairs.”

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    Iron Ladies of Liberia is included in the following Special Collections.
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WMM offers film collections on a variety of specific subject areas, including the collections VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: Ending the Silence, BODY IMAGE, and AFRICAN-AMERICAN: Celebrate the Lives of African-American Women.

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Women Make Movies is a multicultural, multiracial, non-profit media arts organization which facilitiates the production, promotion, distribution, and exhibition of independent films and videotapes by and about women. contact us