Three Women Share the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize

Women’s Voices for Change applauds the three women chosen this year as co-laureates for the Nobel Peace Prize: Liberian president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, peace activist Leymah Gbowee, and Yemeni resistance leader Tawwakul Karmaan.

In the century-plus history of the Peace Prize, as described below, only six have been awarded to women, and never have women shared the prize in the same year. 

We’ll add their names to our list of women we’d choose to run the world.


When the Nobel Prize for Peace was created in 1901, it was divided between two men — Red Cross founder, Henry Dunant, and peace activist, Frederic Passy. The 1905 award went to Prize co-creator, Bertha von Suttner (left), but 72 years passed after that before the next female laureate for Peace was chosen, Mother Teresa.
  Fast-forward 12 years: Aung San Suu Kyi, whom we’ve featured often at WVFC, received her well-deserved award for her leadership in Burma. Six years later, in 1997, Jody Williams was honored for The Campaign to End Land Mines.   But it is only in the 21st century that women have begun to assume their nearly-rightful representation among Nobel Peace laureates, with Iranian lawyer Shirin Ebadi (left) in 2003, and 2004’s winner, the ebullient (and, sadly, newly deceased) environmental leader Wangari Maathai.  This year’s honor roll:   Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia   Leymah Gboweeorganizer, Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace (which helped end the country’s civil war)
  Tawwakul KarmaanYemeni politician, a senior member of Al-Islah, and human rights activist who heads the group Women Journalists Without Chains

We  affirm the words emblazoned this year on the citation: “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.”


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