Thursday, June 14, 2007

Putting Women in the Driver's Seat

Liberia's Leading Ladies:
Finance Minister Antoinette Sayeh with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

“It took men three decades to destroy Liberia, and it is now the women who are fixing it.”
-- quote from one very impressed man in Monrovia--

Anyone who questions the promise of female leadership needs only to step foot in Liberia to cast aside any lingering doubts. My experience over the past week has revealed one unambiguous fact: Liberian women are driving this nation forward. President Sirleaf is the most obvious example, but behind her are so many other effective, talented women who are delivering the results that this country desperately needs.

Consider for instance Mary, the dynamic spark plug who our group met our first day in Monrovia. Mary was personally recruited by the President to return to Liberia after nearly 30 years in the Bronx to run the President’s special projects. If the tight ship that she runs in her spare time at her kitchen-turned-restaurant is any indication, I have little doubt that Mary is lighting a fire under the Passport department (which she recently took over) and taking no prisoners in the process.

At the Finance Ministry where I work, evidence of women’s “get things done” approach is everywhere. Finance Minister Sayeh’s results-oriented management has already borne impressive fruits: revenues and expenditures have more than doubled, the budget has been balanced, and responsible financial management established. Likewise, the boundless determination of two other female managers in the Ministry has resulted in record-breaking revenue growth and the elimination of hundreds of “ghost workers” from the Ministry’s bloated payrolls. The competence, integrity, and effectiveness of the female managers I interact with in the Ministry contrasts with the power-seeking, “me first” attitude that so often prevails in governments worldwide.

In very nerdy terms: If government leadership in Liberia under women were a dummy variable (with value 1, and male leadership taking value 0), I would venture to guess that its effect on economic growth, reduction in corruption, efficiency, law and order, and poverty reduction would be enormous and statistically significant.


Kohl said...

As a fellow nerd, I must insist that you separate out the effects of the ruling women being self-selected and under extreme scrutiny.

But other than that, keep up the good posts!

Anonymous said...

loved the ending! Keep up the insightful posts!
For sure women have been the driving force for many years and have been part of several such anecdotes over the years.
On the lighter side of things,I read an article in the Economist a few days ago stating that many surveys state that women will takeover men as the the most powerful gender base by the year 2020, measured interms of the richest people on the plannet

ali sohail (pakistan) said...

I am the anonymous from the last post. In the earlier post,missed the name portion of the blog. So i thought id fill in later! cheers! : )

Anonymous said...

I believe the lady named Mary who is mentioned in the article in charge of special projects spent
30 years in Queens New York not the

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Melisa Marzett said...

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