By Somali K Chakrabarti
Today as the world celebrates Woman’s Day, here is a tribute to the 16 women laureates of the Nobel Peace Prize from 1905 -t0 2015, to commemorate their contribution towards humanity and peace. Life was not exactly a bed of roses for most of them, some of them were even looked down upon in their own country but how they dealt with the insurmountable difficulties made the world proud of these Nobel women.
“When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.” ~ Malala Yusufzai
Born in 12 July 1997, Mingora, Pakistan, Malala Yusufzai is the youngest Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, to date. After having suffered an attack on her life by Taliban gunmen in 2012, she has continued her struggle and become a leading advocate of girls’ rights.
She was 17 years old in 2014, when she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, with Indian children’s rights activist Kailash Satyarthi.
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia, Leymah Gbowee, a peace activist, social worker and women’s rights advocate from Liberia, and Tawakel Karman from Yemen were the joint recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011, for their for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.
“It’s the little things citizens do. That’s what will make the difference. My little thing is planting trees.” . ~ Wangari Muta Mathai
Wangari Muta Mathai, the founder of the Green Belt Movement to combat deforestation. Mathai was a Kenyan environmental and political activist. She was awarded Nobel Peace Price in 2004 for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace. She passed away in 2011..
Shirin Ebadi was Iran;s first female judge. She is the first woman Peace Prize Laureate from the Islamic World. She was awarded the prize in 2003, for her efforts for fundamental human rights, especially the rights of women and children.
A Peace Activist and a Driving Force in the Campaign against Landmines, Jody Williams, from USA was awarded Nobel Peace Prize in 1992, for her work for the banning and clearing of anti-personnel mines.
Rigibarta Menchu Tum, from Guatemala, grew up in a country marked by extreme violence. She fled to Mexico in the early 1980s, where she came into contact with European groups that were working for human rights in Latin America. Rigoberta worked towards a policy of reconciliation with the authorities, and Norway served as the intermediary in negotiations between the government and the guerrilla organizations for signing off a peace agreement in 1996. Rigoberta Menchú became a UN Ambassador for the world’s indigenous peoples.
She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992 for her work for the rights of indigenous population and reconciliation between ethnic groups.
The Burmese Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi is the daughter of the legendary liberation movement leader Aung San.
She was one of the founders of the National League for Democracy (NLD). Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, she opposed all use of violence and called on the military leaders to hand over power to a civilian government, with the aim to establish a democratic society in Myanmar.
In the election in 1990, the NLD won a victory, but the generals prevented the legislative assembly from convening and refused to release Suu Kyi from house arrest. The Peace Prize awarded in 1991 helped in mobilizing world opinion in favor of Aung San Suu Kyi’s cause.
Aung San Suu Kyi remained under her house arrest till August 2010.
Alva Murdal, a Writer, Diplomat, former Cabinet Minister of Sweeden received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1982 for her contribution in the field of disarmament and arms control. As the representative of a non-aligned Sweden, she worked actively to persuade the superpowers to disarm. The nuclear race was a major concern, and she fought for nuclear weapons-free zones in Europe.
Mother Teresa – Needs no introduction. Born in 26 August 1910, Uskup (now Skopje), she made Kolkata her residence and founded the sisterhood Missionaries of Charity. She was awarded the Peace Prize in 1979 due to her selfless service towards destitute.
Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan from Belfast, Ireland shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976.
In 1976, three innocent children were killed in a shooting incident in Belfast. The housewife and secretary Betty Williams witnessed the tragedy and contacted Mairead Corrigan, the sister of the woman whose children had died. The daughter of a Protestant father and Catholic mother, Betty William along with Mairead Corrigan decided to launch an appeal against the meaningless use of violence in the conflict between Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland.
Emily Greene Balch was given the Peace Prize in 1946 for her lifelong work for disarmament and peace. However,the US government regarded her as a dangerous radical, so she received no congratulations from the US officials.
Jane Addams , from USA received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931. She founded the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom in 1919, and worked for many years to get the great powers to disarm and conclude peace agreements. She, too was stamped a dangerous radical and a danger to US security when she spoke out against USA entering the World War I.
Baroness Burtha Von Suttner, born in the Prague was a Peace activist and first woman to be awarded Nobel Peace Prize in 1905
Reference and Image credit: Nobelprize.org
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