Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee and Yemeni women’s rights advocate Tawakkul Karman rounded out the coveted award for their efforts in their nonviolent struggles for the safety of women and their rights.
Sirleaf, 72, was Africa’s first democratically elected female president in 2005 and will be running for reelection for a second term on Oct. 11. This Harvard educated economist is known as “Iron Lady” by several opponents.
Leymah, 39, worked to encourage Christian and Muslim women to participate in various non-violent demonstrations and sit-ins to end Liberian’s civil war. In 2002 she organized a “sex strike” among Liberian women as a means for the end of the violence.
Karman, 32, is one of the youngest to ever be awarded the prize for her work as an activist and journalist. She was a main figure in the struggle for women’s rights and democracy in Temen.
The Nobel Peace Prize committee felt that the three chosen winners would, “help bring an end to the suppression of women that still occurs in many countries and to realize the great potential for democracy and peace the women can represent.”
Only eleven women in history have ever been awarded this prestigious title. The last woman to receive this award was women’s rights and environmental activist Wangari Maathai, who just recently passed away.