But, here's a case where women, by leveraging their woman-ness, played (and play) a critical part in promoting peace and reconciliation. A man could not have done what they did and are continuing to do. These women drew on, and re-invented, their collective identities as women to do what they saw needed to be done. Listen to her story about how she threatened to remove her clothes in the face of arrest. That action drew on deeply held cultural beliefs about women, and resulted in one of many victories. Listen to her tell how rural women elegantly leveraged their subordinate position in society, and gained the support of their men, via a 'sex strike.' They all turned power on its head, and they did it by being women...or, maybe it would be more precise to say, they did it by doing woman-ness. Even more important to understand, they did it by being Liberian women. This is a particular story at a particular moment in time in a particular place that illustrates the way gender differences can be drawn upon to promote social change. In fact, I might even be so bold to say that the gender inequality itself was critical to the struggle and to ending the war. Please don't read that as an argument for perpetuating inequality. I say it to draw attention to the ways in which people negotiate the situations in which they find themselves, and cause change to come about, by drawing on what is and who they are. Power is fluid and multifaceted and not solely the province of the powerful.
And, kudos to Jon Stewart for getting it, and for being interested and for hosting a forum where these kinds of stories about Africa can be told.