Last night, the Nobel Peace Prize was given to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakul Karman, three of the most respectable female activists of our time. The committee in Oslo, Norway announced that these women were chosen “for their nonviolent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.”
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is the president of Liberia and the only elected female head of state in Africa. She is running for reelection to a second term on October 11, against 15 other candidates. A Harvard-educated economist, Sirleaf is praised for the growth she has achieved after Liberia’s devastating 14-year civil war, and is expected to win a second term.
Leymah Gbowee is an African peace activist who was a key figure in organizing the movement to bring an end to the Second Liberian Civil War. In 2002 Gbowee began the peace movement by organizing women to pray for peace through non-violent protest and prayers.
Tawakul Karman is a Yemeni journalist and human rights activist, who works for the release of political prisoners in her home country, organizing demonstrations and sit-ins. One of the loudest voices in the Yemeni protests, she has received death threats and has become a major figurehead of the ongoing Arab Spring opposition. A 32 year-old mother of three, she is one of the youngest people to receive the prize.
More information on these women and the Nobel Peace Prize can be found here.