Wade C.L. Williams has reached the top of the journalism ladder in her native Liberia, a rare achievement in a field often closed to women and frequently dangerous. As an investigative reporter, she also heads the newsroom at FrontPageAfrica, a newspaper and website based in the capital Monrovia.
Williams has interviewed warlords, written on the discrimination faced by gays and lesbians and faced the horrors of civil war first hand. Her reporting has raised the ire of political parties and her story on female genital mutilation brought her death threats. When her editor was forced to flee the country, she kept her paper running. Williams' dedication and courage has brought her renown. She has received numerous awards and seen her work reprinted in the UK's Guardian and other international publications.
Her winning Africa entry details the crushing poverty many women and girls still experience in Liberia, despite the fact that the country is led by a woman and many promises about improving female lives have been made. "Still a Hard Life" recounts the struggles of Mercy Womeh, a teenager who breaks rocks to earn money to pay her school fees. It is one of the few opportunities for income in a country where 85 percent of people are unemployed despite a national economic growth rate of almost 9 percent.
Link to story: "Still a hard life: Despite female leader, Liberian women still crush rocks"