They were recognised for their “non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work”.
Karman is a Yemeni human rights activist who has been a leading figure in mass protests against the government in 2011.
Johnson Sirleaf is the first woman to be democratically elected as President of an African country. Amnesty International in the past considered her to be a prisoner of conscience, jailed for her opposition to the ruling government in 1985.
Gbowee mobilized women across ethnic and religious lines to help end war in Liberia and ensure women’s participation in elections there.
First of all, as a short summary, the Nobel release read:
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.
Furthermore, Karman, appears to be the first to have a quoted reaction to the award and dedicated it, via BBC News:
“I’m so happy with the news of this prize and I dedicate it to all the martyrs and wounded of the Arab Spring … in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Libya and Syria and to all the free people who are fighting for their rights and freedoms. Actually I didn’t know I was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize until now. I only knew about it through BBC Arabic and al-Jazeera, so thank you very much.”
The most important newspaper in US (the New York Times) states some of these declarations:
“Ms. Karman, 32, a mother of three, took to the streets of the capital along with about 50 other university students in January, demanding the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
“This is a victory for Arabs around the world,” she said of the prize, adding “and a victory for Arab women.”
InLiberia, Mrs. Johnson Sirleaf said that she and Ms. Gbowee accepted “this honor on behalf of the Liberian people and the credit goes to them.”
“For we are now going into our ninth year of peace, and every Liberian has contributed to it,” she said. “We particularly give this credit to Liberian women, who have consistently led the struggle for peace, even under conditions of neglect.”
The three women will receive their awards, each consisting of a diploma, a gold medal and a third of the 10 million Swedish kronor ($1.48 million, 1.08 million euros) prize money at a ceremony in Oslo on December 10, the anniversary of the death in 1896 of prize founder Alfred Nobel.
– Three women’s rights activists share Nobel Peace Prize. By Agence France-Presse
Friday, October 7, 2011. http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/10/07/arab-spring-liberian-women-nobel/
– Nobel Peace Prize recognises women rights activists. 7 October 2011. BBC News Europe. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-15211861
– 3 Women’s Rights Leaders Accept Nobel Peace Prize. By SCOTT SAYARE. Published: December 10, 2011. New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/11/world/sirleaf-gbowee-and-karman-accept-nobel-peace-prizes.html?_r=1
– Nobel peace prize 2011 – as it happened. Posted by Haroon Siddique. Friday 7 October 2011. The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/blog/2011/oct/07/nobel-peace-prize-2011-live