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The Nobel Peace Prize is regarded as the most prestigious award given to people who have made exceptional efforts towards peace and harmony. As of 2022, the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to 60 women globally.
Among the 60 women, three African females have made significant contributions, earning this esteemed accolade. Here, we’ll explore the three African Women Nobel Peace Prize Winners.
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Born on 1 April 1940, Wangari Maathai was a Kenyan political and social activist who transformed the landscape of environmental activism and women’s empowerment. Her journey, rooted in a passion for nature and justice, made her the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
In 1977, Maathai discovered that deforestation threatened not only Kenya’s landscapes but also the livelihoods of its people, so she launched the Green Belt Movement—the initiative aimed to redefine the relationship between environmental conservation and societal progress.
Wangari Maathai mobilized women, encouraging them to plant trees in their communities. This helped foster ecological renewal and sustainable development while empowering women with newfound skills and independence.
She intertwined environmental preservation with political actions. Maathai was beaten by state police and thugs while protesting unlawful allocations in 1992. After a regime change, she contested a parliamentary election and became assistant minister of the environment.
In 2004, the Nobel Peace Prize Committee honored Wangari Maathai for her extraordinary contributions to sustainable development, democracy, and peace. The Nobel Peace Prize acknowledged her pioneering spirit, underscoring the critical link between environmental stability and global harmony.
From 2004 to her death in 2011, Wangari Maathai traveled worldwide campaigning for change.
A Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Leymah Gbowee is a trained social worker, peace activist, and women’s rights advocate. Leymah Gbowee was born in a central Liberian village in 1972. She played a crucial role in mobilizing Liberian women from diverse backgrounds and religious affiliations to oppose the civil war and work for reconciliation.
In the early 2000s, she initiated a grassroots movement that brought together women from all walks of life. With an unyielding commitment to nonviolence, Gbowee and her fellow activists staged sit-ins, protests, and even a sex strike to pressure the warring factions into negotiations.
The persistent efforts of Gbowee and the Liberia women helped pressure the warring parties to participate in peace talks. In 2003, these talks culminated in the signing of the Accra Comprehensive Peace Agreement, ending Liberia’s devastating conflict.
Leymah Gbowee received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 for her instrumental role in mobilizing women for peace. Her legacy has continued to inspire individuals and movements dedicated to social justice and peace worldwide.
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Born on 29 October 1938, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is a Liberian politician and an accomplished economist. Ellen served as the 24th president of Liberia from 2006 to 2018. She was the first democratically elected female head of state in Africa.
Upon taking office in 2006, Sirleaf faced the daunting task of rebuilding Liberia after years of civil war. Her leadership style was marked by transparency, accountability, and a commitment to human rights.
Through sound economic policies, she worked to stabilize the economy, promote infrastructure development, and strengthen governance institutions. During her tenure as a president, she collaborated with her fellow Nobel Peace Prize winner, Leymah Gbowee, to steer Liberia towards a more stable and peaceful future.
In 2011, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Leymah Gbowee were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their remarkable contributions to peace, democracy, and women’s rights in Liberia.
The 3 Women Laureates, Wangari Maathai, Leymah Gbowee, and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, have shown that strength, resilience, and unity can drive transformative change despite adversity. As we celebrate these laureates, may their stories continue to inspire generations, proving that the pursuit of peace knows no bounds.
If you’re interested in learning about these three African women Nobel peace prize winners, get their books on Amazon.
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