Saturday, October 8, 2011

Nobel Prize Winning Women

History was made yesterday when Liberian and Africa’s first democratically elected female president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, led two other women to win the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize.

The others are: a Liberian peace activist, Leyma Gbowee and a woman who stood up to Yemen’s authoritarian regime, Tawakkul Karman. Tawakkul is the first Arab woman to win the prize.

The trio won the Nobel Peace Prize for their work to secure women’s rights, which the prize committee described as fundamental to advancing world peace.

The 10 million kronor ($1.5 million) award was therefore split among them.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee honoured the three women “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work. 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,” the prize committee said.

Johnson Sirleaf, the 72-year-old Harvard-trained economist, became Africa’s first democratically elected female president in 2005.

Gbowee, who organised a group of Christian and Muslim women to challenge Liberia’s warlords, was honoured for mobilising women “across ethnic and religious dividing lines to bring an end to the long war in Liberia, and to ensure women’s participation in elections.”

Karman is a 32-year-old mother of three who heads the human rights group, Women Journalists without Chains. She has been a leading figure in organising protests against President Ali Abdullah Saleh that kicked off in late January as part of a wave of anti-authoritarian revolts that have convulsed the Arab world.

Read more at the Guardian:

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