The Nobel Committee announced that three female activists would share this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the President of Liberia, along with Liberian activist Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman, an activist from Yemen were all chosen “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.”
Each woman has pretty long list of achievements. The 72-year-old Sirleaf was Africa's first elected female head of state. Karman is the president of Women Journalists Without Chains, a group campaigning for press freedom. A founder and executive director of Women Peace and Security Network-Africa, Gbowee, also won the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award in 2009.
The three women were the first women to win since it was given to Kenyan environmental and political activist Wangari Maathai in 2004. Though the prize has been shared before, it’s only the second time that the award was shared between three people. The first time was in 1994 when Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, Foreign Minister of Israel Shimon Peres and Prime Minster of Israel Yitzhak Rabin shared the prize.
Only 10 out of the 98 Nobel Peace winners have been women, so this year shows that female activism is not being overlooked. Thorbjorn Jagland, head of the Nobel committee, said the prize was “a very important signal to women all over the world.”
“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,” he said.
Do you think this honor will highlight more female activists? Anyone in particular you think deserves to be recognized?
Image Courtesy of Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
(l to r: Tawakkul Karman, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee)
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