Three women will share this year's Nobel Peace Prize for their "non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights, to full participation in peace-building work." The recipients are Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, activist Leymah Gbowee of Liberia, and activist Tawakkul Karman of Yemen. The 1.5 million dollar prize will be equally divided among the three female laureates. In a statement announcing this year's winners, the Norwegian Nobel Prize Committee said, "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."
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is Africa's first democratically-elected woman president. Since her inauguration in 2006, she has contributed to securing peace in Liberia, to promoting economic and social development, and to strengthening the position of women.
Leymah Bgowe is responsible for mobilizing and organizing women across ethnic and religious dividing lines to bring an end to the long war in Liberia, and to ensure women's participation in elections.
Tawakkul Karman played a leading role in the struggle to attain women's rights and for democracy and peace in Yemen, both before and during the Arab Spring
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton congratulated the three Nobel Peace Prize winners saying, "they are shining examples of the difference that women can make and the progress they can help achieve when given the opportunity to make decisions about the future of their societies and countries."
She added: "The unflinching courage, strength and leadership of these women to build peace, advance reconciliation, and defend the rights of fellow citizens in their own countries provide inspiration for women’s rights and human progress everywhere. This recognition of their extraordinary accomplishments, reflects the efforts of many other women who are promoting peace and security in their countries and communities."