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The inspiring stories of these three extraordinary women are part of public media’s Women and Girls Lead pipeline of documentaries. In addition to three films about their ground-breaking peace work, ITVS has produced a number of resources for educators that feature President Sirleaf and Leymah Gbowee (as well as 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai), including lesson plans, discussion guides, and film modules.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf – Iron Ladies of Liberia

Iron Ladies of Liberia — The Film
With unprecedented access, this intimate documentary goes behind the scenes with Africa's first freely elected female head of state, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, president of Liberia. The film explores the challenges facing the new president and the extraordinary women surrounding her.


Democracy Around the World – Lesson Plan
This lesson plan and film module focus on what democracy looks like in Liberia, under President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s fledgling government. Students explore how democracy plays out in different political and cultural contexts globally. They will also examine the U.S. government’s position as a model for democracy for countries around the world.


Women and Democracy – Lesson Plan
Students examine the first women-led administration of Liberia and consider whether the world’s governments would be different with more women in power. Students will also consider the ways in which notable women in American politics have challenged the status quo of the United States government.


Iron Ladies of Liberia – Discussion Guide
What will it take for President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s government to succeed in its attempt to rebuild the devastated nation of Liberia? Will the women in power act differently than male predecessors? Can change happen rapidly enough to stave off more armed conflict? This discussion guide for the full-length film provides resources for further research and action.

Leymah Gbowee – Pray the Devil Back to Hell

Women, War & Peace — The Series
Women, War & Peace is a five-part series revealing how the post-Cold War proliferation of small arms has changed the landscape of war, with women becoming primary targets and suffering unprecedented casualties. Yet they are simultaneously emerging as necessary partners in brokering lasting peace and as leaders in forging new international laws governing conflict.


Pray the Devil Back to Hell – The second episode
Pray the Devil Back to Hell is the astonishing story of the Liberian women (including Gbowee) who took on the warlords and regime of dictator Charles Taylor in the midst of a brutal civil war, and won a once unimaginable peace for their shattered country in 2003.


Pray the Devil Back to Hell – Discussion Guide
The discussion guide examines the nonviolent tactics these women used in working toward their goal of peace in Liberia, and – now that the civil strife has died down – considers how these women can help their fellow citizens build and maintain a strong democracy in their country.


Women, War & Peace – Additional Educator Resources
Visit the Women, War & Peace website for additional educator resources.

Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai

Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai — The Film
How does the simple act of planting trees lead to winning the Nobel Peace Prize? Ask Wangari Maathai of Kenya. In 1977, she suggested rural women plant trees to address problems stemming from a degraded environment. Under her leadership, their tree-planting grew into a nationwide movement to safeguard the environment, defend human rights and promote democracy, earning Maathai the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004.


From Roots to Branches: The Interconnectedness of Environment, Culture and Social Justice – Lesson Plan
In this lesson, students will examine how Kenya’s history as a colonized nation has contributed to their challenges with deforestation. Students will also create media projects about environmental champions in their own communities.


The Green Belt Movement: Evaluating Citizen Action and Environmental Change Strategies – Lesson Plan
In this lesson, students examine the community organizing/civic action steps that the Green Belt Movement took to tackle Kenya’s deforestation, and investigate the strategies of other successful “change makers” in their own communities.