Given equal opportunities in governance and development, women pull others – children, families, more women – into an expanding circle of benefits that features education, healthcare, employment and peace. One empowered woman empowers many other people, functioning as she does in an interlocking system of kinship and societal links. Empowered women mean empowered societies. The Nobel Committee has done well to recognise this.
The Nobel peace prize being awarded to three women is highly significant. The act recognises extraordinary individuals effecting great changes around them. It simultaneously makes another point – for peace and development, it is vital women have an equal share in governance and protest – for both processes to achieve meaningful progress. This is evident from the inspiring journeys of this year’s awardees, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakul Karman.
Sirleaf is Africa’s first democratically elected female president who took over war-torn Liberia in 2006. Inheriting a nation ravaged by violence and poverty Sirleaf turned the tide in Liberia, achieving peace and absolution for enormous national debts. Gbowee is a Liberian activist who mobilised women in 2002 to oppose brutal civil battles. She united Christian and Muslim women against militias using rape to terrorise and humiliate opponents. Karman is a Yemeni activist demanding democracy well before the Arab Spring blossomed. Since 2007, Karman opposed Yemen’s repressive regime, calling for freedom and human rights through non-violent methods. It is only fitting these remarkable women be awarded the Nobel peace prize.
That’s great news for the Nobel itself. The peace prize has long been the preserve of ‘statesmen’ and has been giving almost only to patriarchal figures. The committee’s choice highlights the profound position of women in experiencing and resolving ground-level violence.
Source: Times of India
Related article on this blog: The Arab Spring: a Booster for Women’s Emancipation!?