The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to three women for their tireless non-violent struggle to further women’s rights.
The recipients of the award are president of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (pictured), Liberia peace activist Leymah Gbowee and journalist and Yemeni human rights campaigner Tawakkul Karman.
According to a statement from the Nobel committee on the award, “The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2011 is to be divided in three equal parts between Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work. ”
The statement continues: “We cannot achieve democracy and lasting peace in the world unless women obtain the same opportunities as men to influence developments at all levels of society.”
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is Africa’s first democratically elected female president. She was inaugurated in 2006. Since that time she has been a central influence in trying to secure peace in Liberia, to promoting economic and social prosperity, and has also devoted a great deal of energy to promoting the role of women in the country.
Campaigner Leymah Gbowee was a driving force in organizing women from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds to come together and help end Liberia’s long-running civil wars. In so doing she also campaigned to ensure women could participate in elections and has, since the end of major fighting in 2003, worked to promote the role and influence of women in West Africa.
Tawakkul Karman has tirelessly campaigned, both before and during the Arab spring, to promote the struggle for women’s rights and to bring about peace and democracy in Yemen. Karman has most recently been involved with the anti-authoritarian movement that has swept the Arab nations.
In awarding these three women the prize, the Norwegian Nobel committee says that it is hopeful the award and resulting conversation “will help to bring an end to the suppression of women that still occurs in many countries, and to realise the great potential for democracy and peace that women can represent.”
As joint recipients of the award the three women will share the $1.5m prize money.
According to the Nobel committee this now makes a total of 12 women who have won the peace prize.
To learn more about the women who have previously won the Nobel Peace Prize click here to read “Heroines of Peace – The Nine Nobel Women.”