Friday, October 7, 2011

Three women honored with the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize

by Waldirene Biernath

Source photos: Google image

This year's Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded jointly to three women - Mrs Sirleaf is Africa's first female elected head of state, Ms Gbowee is a Liberian peace activist and Ms Karman is a leading figure in Yemen's pro-democracy movement. They were recognized for their "non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work".

Ms Sirleaf, who had been widely tipped as a winner, said the award was "for all Liberian people" and a recognition of "many years of struggle for justice". She was elected in 2005, following the end of Liberia's 14-year civil war which left 250,000 people dead, caused thousands to flee abroad and financially ruined the country. Upon coming to office, the US-educated economist and former finance minister - known as Liberia's "Iron Lady" - pledged to fight corruption and bring "motherly sensitivity and emotion to the presidency" as a way of healing the wounds of war. She is popular among women and the country's small elite, but disliked by more traditional male-dominated sections of society.

Ms Gbowee was a leading critic of the violence during the Liberian civil war, mobilizing women across ethnic and religious lines in peace activism and encouraging them to participate in elections. In 2003 she led a march through the capital, Monrovia, demanding an end to the rape of women by soldiers, which had continued despite a peace deal being signed three months earlier.

Mrs Karman heard of her win from Change Square in the capital Sanaa, where she has been living for several months in a protest camp calling for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to stand down. She was recognized for playing a leading part in the struggle for women's rights in Yemen's pro-democracy protests "in the most trying circumstances" and is the first Arab women to win the prize.

The women will share the $1.5m (£1m) prize money.


No comments:

Post a Comment