EWL News

EWL delighted at award of Nobel Peace Prize to 3 women’s rights and peace activists

[Brussels, 07 October 2011] The EWL is delighted at the announcement that this year’s Nobel Peace Prize will, for the first time ever, be awarded to three women for ’their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work’. The winners are Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Leymah Gbowee of Liberia and Tawakul Karman of Yemen.

This award is a welcome recognition of the importance of the work of women’s associations worldwide, and also a rare tribute to the contributions of women to peace processes worldwide: so far, only 15 women have ever won the Nobel Prize for Peace since its establishment in 1901, as compared to 85 men and 23 institutions!

Mrs Sirleaf is Africa’s first female elected head of state, Ms Gbowee a Liberian peace activist and Ms Karman is a leading figure in Yemen’s pro-democracy movement.

Announcing the prize in Oslo, Nobel Committee chairman Thorbjorn Jagland said: "We cannot achieve democracy and lasting peace in the world unless women achieve the same opportunities as men to influence developments at all levels of society."

Part of the work of the EWL is dedicated to the promotion of women in peace processes and the implementation of UNSC Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. For more information on our work in this area, please visit the section on International Action for Women’s Rights on our website.

Complete text of the citation for the 2011 Nobel peace prize

The Norwegian Nobel committee has decided that the Nobel peace prize for 2011 is to be divided in three equal parts between Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakul Karman for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work. 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.

In October 2000, the UN security council adopted Resolution 1325. The resolution for the first time made violence against women in armed conflict an international security issue. It underlined the need for women to become participants on an equal footing with men in peace processes and in peace work in general.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is Africa’s first democratically elected female 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 Gbowee mobilized and organized 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. She has since worked to enhance the influence of women in West Africa during and after war.

In the most trying circumstances, both before and during the "Arab spring," Tawakul Karman has played a leading part in the struggle for women’s rights and for democracy and peace in Yemen.

It is the Norwegian Nobel committee’s hope that the prize to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman will help to bring an end to the suppression of women that still occurs in many countries, and to realise the great potential for democracy and peace that women can represent.

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