Activists Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakul Karman win 2011 Nobel Peace Prize

Award seen as impetus to the cause for women’s rights internationally

The 2011 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to three women in recognition of their role in promoting peace, democracy and gender equality. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia—Africa’s first elected female president—her compatriot, peace activist Leymah Gbowee, and Tawakul Karman of Yemen, a pro-democracy campaigner, are the first women to be recognized by the prestigious award, which comes with a US $1.5 million prize, since Kenya’s Wangari Maathai was named as the laureate in 2004. The citation read by Thorbjorn Jagland, a former Norwegian prime minister who heads the Oslo-based Nobel committee, suggests the honour was conferred in part to give impetus to the cause for women’s rights around the world: “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.”

New York Times