Women Own Nobel Peace Prize

7 October 2011

Women on Boards congratulates the three women who have won the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize "for their nonviolent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work:

  • Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia and Africa’s first democratically elected female president.
  • Leymah Gbowee, a director of Women Peace and Security Network Africa who mobilized and organized women across ethnic and religious dividing lines to bring an end to the long war in Liberia and ensure women’s participation in elections.
  • Tawakkul Karman, who has played a leading part in the struggle for women’s rights and for democracy and peace in Yemen, in particular before and during the 'Arab Spring'. She is the first Arab woman to win the award

Claire Braund, who was recently in Oslo where the Norwegian Nobel Committee awards the prize each year, said the award recognised that women must have equal opportunity to take part in decision-making at all levels and in all spheres of society if we are to achieve democracy, humanity and lasting peace in the world.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee said it hoped that the prize to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman 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.

Leymah Gbowee, who works in Ghana’s capital, is reported as saying that although she had never considered herself worthy of the prize, "women have important roles in peace and security issues and I think that this is an acknowledgment of that."

"The world is functioning on one side of its brain" because women’s skills and intelligence are "not being used to advance the cause of the world," she said.

President Barack Obama, said that "when we empower women around the world, then everyone is better off, that countries and cultures that respect the contributions of women inevitably end up being more successful than those that don't."

To read the citation for the three women go to: http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/2011/press.html