This year’s Nobel peace prize has been shared between three women for ‘their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights in peace-building work.’
The winners are Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf – Africa’s first democratically elected female leader – her compatriot Leymah Gbowee and the Yemeni activist Tawakul Karman.
The citation said since her inauguration in 2006 Johnson-Sirleaf has contributed to securing peace in a country that had been wracked by years of civil war, and to strengthening the development of women.
Speaking to euronews after nearly a year in power she said: “Already I think women feel themselves much better positioned because of my own position. We have appointed women in what we call the strategic positions in government.”
Leymah Gbowee included a sex-strike as one of the weapons in her arsenal to combat Liberia’s civil war. The Nobel citation said she organised women across ethnic and religious divides to end the conflict.
“Women living in conflict (and) struggle have been recognised, it is now documented,” Gbowee said. “For me, a loud statement has been made with this award. The plight of women, the role of women, the involvement of women, their needs and priorities will never be ignored in this world.”
Tawakul Karman has been a fervent campaigner during the ongoing uprising in Yemen to oust President Saleh.
“This award is a proof of the victory of Yemeni peaceful revolution. Our revolution managed to gain the admiration and respect of the international community and I hope that the world will grant us its full support. I dedicate this award,” she said, “to the great Yemeni people.”
Karman was detained for a time during the unrest. Her recognition is seen as a gesture of the Nobel committee’s wider approval of the other Arab Spring revolts.