Three women working towards equality win the Nobel Peace Prize

Pics via NYT. Left to right: Leymah Gbowee, pic by Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times; Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, pic by Jim Watson/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images; Tawakul Karman, pic by Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters

This is pretty friggin’ awesome:

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, her compatriot and “peace warrior” Leymah Gbowee and Yemen’s Arab Spring activist Tawakkul Karman won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday.

The three women will share the 2011 award “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work,” Norwegian Nobel Committee president Thorbjoern Jagland said in his announcement.

“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,” he added.

The New York Times noted that they are the first women to win the prize since Wangari Maathai in 2004, who passed away just last week.

This just makes me happy, not just for the recognition that Johnson Sirleaf, Gbowee and Karman are getting for the incredible impact they’ve made in their countries, but to publicly uphold those working towards gender equality further validates these efforts as critical work to be done in the world. As Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg added, “I see this prize as a recognition of women all over the world who are fighting for women’s rights, who are fighting for democracy and human rights, and a recognition of the vital work women do in peace and reconciliation work.” Awesome.

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