Nobel Peace Prize 2011 handed jointly to three women
The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, her compatriot Leymah Gbowee, and Yemeni women's rights activist Tawakkul Karman.
The award was intended as a strong signal in favour of the empowerment of women in the developing 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,” said the citation.
The Norwegian committee said it had honoured the three women "for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work". It was the first time a woman had been given the prize in seven years.
In doing so, the committee avoided the sort of controversies it has started by giving prizes to President Barack Obama or the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and climate change campaigner Al Gore, the former US vice-president.
At 32, Mrs Karman is one of the youngest recipients of the prize. A mother of three, she was recognised for her role in the Arab Spring.
As chairwoman of Women Journalists Without Chains, an organization that defends human rights and freedom of expression, including the freedom to protest, her typical work involved trying to get other protestors against the government of Ali Abdullah Saleh out of jail.
Mrs Johnson-Sirleaf’s award was not unexpected. She has been widely praised for leading Liberia out of years of civil war and brutality and for reducing rampant corruption.
Though the Nobel judges always deny there is any political consideration in their decisions, the prize will help the president’s re-election efforts, which begin next week.
Her compatriot Leymah Gbowee organising a peace movement that brought an end to Liberia’s second civil war in 2003. She formed Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace, praying and singing with women in fish market.
Under her leadership, the women managed to force a meeting with President Charles Taylor and extract a promise from him to attend peace talks in Ghana