“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,” read a statement from Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf after learning she was one of three women to win the Nobel Peace Prize this year.
The choice of these three women was an important step for women socially and economically. Tawakkol Karman, a 32-year-old liberal Islamist who was not known outside of Yemen until a year ago, has become a leading human-rights activist and represents a hope in the Middle East that Islamists can be central to the peace process, according to The New York Times. The third recipient was also from Liberia: Leymah Gbowee, a leading peace activist.
Around the world, the decision to give the award to these three women was heralded. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said: “The unflinching courage, strength and leadership of these women to build peace, advance reconciliation and defend the rights of fellow citizens in their own countries provide inspiration for women’s rights and human progress everywhere.”
Corporations increasingly have been supporting global efforts to empower women economically. For example, AT&T, No. 4 on The 2011 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list, has been a staunch supporter of the Peace Through Business program, which trains women entrepreneurs from Afghanistan and Rwanda. And several DiversityInc Top 50 companies, including Accenture (No. 23), Ernst & Young (No. 5), Cummins (No. 18), IBM (No. 7), Marriott International (No. 14) and Verizon Communications (No. 22), as well as Microsoft, PG&E, Pfizer and Walmart, are sponsors of WEConnect International, which seeks supplier-diversity development for women globally.
Here’s a synopsis of what’s been said about the Nobel Peace Prize this year:
Among 3 Women Awarded Nobel Peace Prize, a Nod to the Arab Spring (the significant ramifications globally of giving Karman the award)
Nobel Peace Prize Awarded to Three Activist Women (announcement receives accolades worldwide)
Women Nobel Peace Laureates Congratulate Three New Women Laureates (statements from women who have won the Nobel Peace prize in the past)
Nobel honors African, Arab women for peace (includes information on how the women will use their prize money to help others)