front cover of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Pamela Scully
Ohio University Press, 2016

In this timely addition to the Ohio Short Histories of Africa series, Pamela Scully takes us from the 1938 birth of Nobel Peace Prize winner and two-time Liberian president Ellen Johnson through the Ebola epidemic of 2014–15. Charting her childhood and adolescence, the book covers Sirleaf’s relationship with her indigenous grandmother and urban parents, her early marriage, her years studying in the United States, and her career in international development and finance, where she developed her skill as a technocrat. The later chapters cover her years in and out of formal Liberian politics, her support for women’s rights, and the Ebola outbreak.

Sirleaf’s story speaks to many of the key themes of the twenty-first century. Among these are the growing power of women in the arenas of international politics and human rights; the ravaging civil wars in which sexual violence is used as a weapon; and the challenges of transitional justice in building postconflict societies. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is an astute examination of the life of a pioneering feminist politician.


front cover of Women's Empowerment and Disempowerment in Brazil
Women's Empowerment and Disempowerment in Brazil
The Rise and Fall of President Dilma Rousseff
Pedro A. G. dos Santos and Farida Jalalzai
Temple University Press, 2021

In 2010, Dilma Rousseff was the first woman to be elected President in Brazil. She was re-elected in 2014 before being impeached in 2016 for breaking budget laws. Her popularity and controversy both energized and polarized the country. In Women’s Empowerment and Disempowerment in Brazil, dos Santos and Jalalzai examine Rousseff’s presidency and what it means for a woman to hold (and lose) the country’s highest power. 

The authors examine the ways Rousseff exercised dominant authority and enhanced women’s political empowerment. They also investigate the extent her gender played a role in the events of her presidency, including the political and economic crises and her ensuing impeachment. Emphasizing women’s political empowerment rather than representation, the authors assess the effects of women executives to more directly impact female constituencies—how they can empower women by appointing them to government positions; make policies that advance women’s equality; and, through visibility, create greater support for female politicians despite rampant sexism. 

Women’s Empowerment and Disempowerment in Brazil uses Rousseff’s presidency as a case study to focus on the ways she succeeded and failed in using her authority to empower women. The authors’ findings have implications throughout the world.


Send via email Share on Facebook Share on Twitter