Date of Conferral



Public Policy and Administration


Cat Heck


Abstract Patriarchy has dominated political powers in many areas of the world. Until 2006, men overwhelmingly held the highest political positions in Liberia. Female political participation started to emerge in 2006 when women began to hold top political positions. The main purpose of this research was to examine the relationship between the gender policies of the administrations of Liberian Presidents Charles Taylor and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the political participation of women in Liberian politics, measured by the holding of political offices. The research question guiding this study examined the impact of the gender policies of the Charles Taylor and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf administrations on the political participation of women. The study also attempted to understand the historical transition of Liberian women from their prewar patriarchal suppression to their role in peace building after the war. The theories that framed this study were that of democratic governance and African feminist theory. The study used a qualitative approach designed to examine historical secondary data. Findings show that there were more women in the Johnson Sirleaf government than that of the Taylor administration. This phenomenon was caused by gender legislation that enabled women to seek political power. Gender policies such as the ones enacted during the Charles Taylor and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf administrations are necessary to include more women in positions of power and authority, thus, leading to positive social changes in education, economy, and the protection of women from violence.