Africa now has three female heads of state, after Catherine Samba-Panza of the Central African Republic took office in January. Though women leaders remain the exception in African politics, activists say things are looking up. Women are breaking into the "boys club" of the African presidency. Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, or "Ma Ellen," was the first in 2005 as the country emerged from 13 years of brutal civil war. Joyce Banda stepped up in Malawi in 2012 after the sudden death of the president. She had been the vice president. And now there's President Catherine Samba-Panza in the Central African Republic, a country torn apart by rebellion and sectarian violence. Each of these women has taken office amid crisis and transition. Countries like Mali have seen their first female presidential candidates. Bad times are finally prying the doors open. "There's a joke I read the other day - when everything gets messed up, the women are asked to come in and clean up," says Executive Director for the NGO Women Africa Solidarity, Oley Dibba-Wadda, She says girls and young women are getting much-needed role models. "To say it is possible, I can actually be a president being a woman...These trailblazers have just opened the flood doors and it's just going to happen. There is no thinking of going back. We can't go back," she said. As African women break political "glass ceilings" at all levels of government, some are criticized for not doing enough for other women.