2011 Nobel Peace Prize Goes to 3 Inspirational Changemakers
The winners of the Nobel Peace Prize – one of the prestigious Nobel prizes awarded each year in recognition of cultural and scientific advances – were announced last week, and for the first time ever, the Prize was divided in equal parts to three amazing women.
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the president of African nation Liberia, Leymah Gbowee, an African peace activist also from Liberia, and Tawakkul Karman (see picture at left), a journalist and human rights activist from Yemen, were awarded the prize for their “non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work. As the Nobel Prize committee said, “We cannot achieve democracy and lasting piece in the world unless women obtain the same opportunities as men to influence developments at all levels of society.”
These three women are all serious changemakers in a big way: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is Africa’s first democratically elected female president, and she’s used her leadership role to help secure peace in Liberia, promote economic and social development, and lift the position of women in her country. Leymah Gbowee mobilized and organized a women-led peace movement that ultimately brought an end to Liberia’s second civil war in 2003, and has since worked to ensure women play a significant role in politics in her country. And journalist Tawakkul Karman played a leading part in both the struggle for women’s rights and for democracy and peace in Yemen.
Ellen, Leymah, and Tawakkul join only 12 other women to have won the Nobel Peace Prize in its 110-year history, including Mother Theresa, and Guatemalan peace activist Rigoberta Menchu.