Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee has made a plea to the international community for assistance fighting the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Despite being at greater risk of contracting Ebola, Liberian women are at the forefront in their efforts to educate, inform, and equip communities to contain and prevent the spread of the disease.
“My brave sisters who protested along with me against the civil war are back again,” states Leymah Gbowee as Liberian women are fighting a new battle that threatens Liberia’s peace and progress. Gbowee made the statement in an Op Ed in the Guardian this month.
In an article for Foreign Policy, Lauren Wolfe writes that women’s roles as caregivers make them especially susceptible to the disease. Seventy-five percent of Ebola deaths are women. Wolfe asserts that understanding the impact of gender roles could affect transmission and mortality rates as well as how to effectively address the fight against Ebola.
Leymah Gbowee’s Peace Foundation has organized information sessions, distributed posters, and have funded prevention and outreach efforts in an effort to equip communities to fight against Ebola. Women volunteers have also organized roadside prayer events and are distributing flyers on the importance of hand washing. In a recent op-ed, Gbowee calls for Liberians to be diligent within their own communities and emphasizes the needs of the local communities since efforts at the macro-level have been failing.
Nobel Peace laureate Leymah Gbowee: Ebola threatens to derail a decade of peace, The Guardian, 6 August 2014.
Why Are So Many Women Dying Of Ebola, Foreign Policy, 20 August 2014.