Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Women's History Month -12 Nobel Peace Laureates

Women Nobel Peace Laureates

I was planning to choose one of the following women to write about but I couldn't decide which one. Twelve women have received the Nobel Peace Prize, all of whom have dedicated their lives to peace.

Here they are:

1. Baroness Bertha von Suttner -Nobel Peace Prize, 1905

A friend of Alfred Nobel, Baroness Bertha
von Suttner was a leader in the international peace movement in the 1890s, and she received support from Nobel for her Austrian Peace Society. When Nobel died, he bequeathed money for four prizes for scientific achievements, and one for peace. Though many (including, perhaps, the Baroness) expected the peace prize to be awarded to her, three other individuals and one organization were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize before the committee named her in 1905.

2. Jane Addams - Nobel Peace Prize, 1931 (shared with Nicholas Murray Butler)

Jane Addams, best known as the founder of Hull-House, a settlement house in Chicago, was active in peace efforts during World War I with the International Congress of Women. Jane Addams also helped to found the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. She was nominated numerous times, but the prize went each time to others, until 1931. She was, by that time, in ill health, and could not travel to accept the prize.

3. Emily Greene Balch - Nobel Peace Prize, 1946 (shared with John Mott, YMCA)

A friend and co-worker of Jane Addams, Emily
Balch also worked to end World War I and helped to found the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. She was a professor of social economics at Wellesley College for 20 years, but was fired for her World War I peace activities. Though a pacifist, Balch supported the American entry into World War II.

4. & 5. Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan - Nobel Peace Prize, 1976

They founded the Northern Ireland Peace Movement. Betty Williams, a Protestant, and
Mairead Corrigan, a Catholic, came together to work for peace in Northern Ireland, organizing peace demonstrations that brought together Roman Catholics and Protestants, protesting violence by British soldiers, Irish Republican Army (IRA) members (Catholics), and Protestant extremists.

6. Mother Teresa - Nobel Peace Prize, 1979

Born in Skopje, then in Yugoslavia, Mother Teresa founded the
Missionaries of Charity in India and focused on serving the dying. She was skilled at publicizing her order's work and thus financing the expansion of its services. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her "work in bringing help to suffering humanity." She died in 1997 and was beatified in 2003 by Pope John Paul II.

7. Alva Myrdal - Nobel Peace Prize, 1982 (shared with Alfonso GarcíaRobles)

Alva Myrdal, a Swedish economist and advocate of human rights, as well as a United Nations department head (the first woman to hold such a position) and Swedish ambassador to India, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with a fellow disarmament advocate from Mexico, at a time when the disarmament committee at the UN had failed in its efforts.

8. Aung San Suu Kyi - Nobel Peace Prize, 1991

Aung San Suu Kyi, whose mother was ambassador to India and fatherde facto prime minister of Burma (Myanmar), won election but was denied the office by a military government. Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her nonviolent work for human rights and independence in Burma (Myanmar). She has spent most of her time since 1989 under house arrest or imprisoned by the military government for her dissident work.

9. Rigoberta Menchú Tum -Nobel Peace Prize, 1992

Rigoberta Menchú was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her work for "ethno-cultural reconciliation based on respect for the rights of indigenous peoples."

10. Jody Williams - Nobel Peace Prize, 1997 (shared with the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, ICBL)

Jody Williams was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her work with the International Campaign to Ban Landmines.

11. Shirin Ebadi - Nobel Peace Prize, 2003

Iranian human rights advocate
Shirin Ebadi was the first person from Iran and the first Muslim woman to win a Nobel Prize.

12. Wangari Maathai - Nobel Peace Prize, 2004

Wangari Maathai founded the Green Belt movement in Kenya in 1977, which has planted more than 10 million trees to prevent soil erosion and provide firewood for cooking fires. Wangari Maathai was the first African woman to be named a Nobel Peace Laureate, honored "for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace."


The Nobel Peace Prize is an award presented to either an individual or an organization in accordance with Alfred Nobel’s living will. Alfred Nobel, was a Swedish inventor and industrialist. He disposed the Nobel Peace Prize in his will to be awarded to “the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses." The prize can be awarded for current efforts, rather than for having accomplished a goal or resolved an issue.

An amazing group of women to whom we owe so much. All of whom had the courage to stand up for others and speak out, even when it may have been unpopular to do so.


1 comment:

Kittie Howard said...

What an amazing, inspiring list. These women faced so many obstacales, the prime one being a woman, yet perservered and contributed so much good.

I'm relieved your Goddaughter is safe. I know you were worried as news was sketchy from so many areas. It's frightful, if one thinks about it, how a perfectly normal day can turn into a nightmare. So many lives lost in the blink of an eye. Yes, whatever problems we have, we still have these seconds to enjoy.

I really wish 2011 would wear a happier smile!