Momentously, in October 2011, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to three women leaders for peace: Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, peace activist Leymah Gbowee, also from Liberia, and pro-democracy campaigner Tawakul Karman of Yemen. The Nobel Committee’s announcement directly linked the work of these activists to the goals outlined by SCR 1325.
During their acceptance speeches, the three recipients were eloquent but forthright about the urgency of their work to build more peaceful societies. Their remarks reflected their indomitable spirits and belief that seemingly “powerless” women could in fact determine the direction of the countries. "We must continue to unite in sisterhood to turn our tears into triumph, our despair into determination and our fear into fortitude," said Ms. Gbowee. "There is no time to rest until our world achieves wholeness and balance, where all men and women are considered equal and free."
Leymah Gbowee also stated, “Let me again congratulate the Nobel Committee for awarding the Peace Prize to us three women. By this act you affirm that women's rights are truly human rights and that any leader, nation or political group that excludes women from all forms of national and local engagement is setting themselves up for failure.”
Thorbjorn Jagland, chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, was unequivocal in expressing the Committee’s belief that the governments that sought to oppress their citizens—and deny women their human rights—were on the wrong side of history. Speaking before the ceremony, Mr. Jagland told the recipients, “You represent one of the most important motive forces for change in today's world, the struggle for human rights in general and the struggle of women for equality and peace in particular.”
Read more on these women’s achievements and what they mean for women, peace and security.