The 2011 Nobel Peace Prize is awarded jointly to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman "for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work".
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 Tawakkul Karman for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.
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 developements at all levels of society."
"It is the Norwegian Nobel Committee's hope that the prize... 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."
Sirleaf is Africa’s first democratically elected female president, following the end of Liberia's 14-year civil war. 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," the Nobel committee said. She had said she would only run for one term, but is standing for re-election next week.
Gbowee was a leading critic of the violence of the civil war, mobilising women across ethnic and religious lines in peace activism - in part through implementing a "sex strike" - and encouraging them to participate in elections. "She has since worked to enhance the influence of women in West Africa during and after war," said the award citation.
Karman heads the Yemeni organisation Women Journalists without Chains and has been jailed several times over her campaigns for press freedom and her opposition to the government of President Ali Abdullah Saleh. She was recognised for playing a leading part in the struggle for women's rights in Yemen during the Arab Spring pro-democracy uprisings "in the most trying circumstances".
The women will share the $1.5m (£1m) prize money.
Violence against women
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.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee’s said it hopes "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."