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Swedish feminists praise Peace Prize winners

David Landes · 7 Oct 2011, 13:54

Published: 07 Oct 2011 13:54 GMT+02:00

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“We were overjoyed. We were cheering in the hallways,” Susanna Elmberger of Kvinna till Kvinna, a Swedish women's rights group active in Liberia and other post-conflict areas, told The Local.

The reaction comes following news that the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Peace Prize for 2011 to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman for “their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.”

Liberian president Johnson Sirleaf is Africa's first democratically elected female president, while Gbowee is a peace activist who “mobilized and organised women across ethnic and religious dividing lines” to help end Liberia's civil war.

Karman, meanwhile, has played a “leading part” in the struggle for women’s rights and for democracy and peace in Yemen.

“It is the Norwegian Nobel Committee’s hope that the prize to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman will help to bring an end to the suppression of women that still occurs in many countries, and to realise the great potential for democracy and peace that women can represent,” the Committee said in a statement.

Kvinna till Kvinna's Elmberger hoped that the trio's winning of the Nobel would further boost recognition of the important role woman can play in peace processes.

“This is a recognition of the importance of women's role in peace-building,” said Elmberger.

“There are still very few women involved in peace processes around the world. Hopefully the award will create more chances for women to get involved.

“It was extra special for us because we've been working so closely with the women's movement and the peace process in Liberia. It feels like this prize not only goes to these individual women, but to the whole women's movement in Liberia.”

Sweden's EU minister Brigitta Olhsson who has also been active in promoting women's rights, also hailed the Nobel Committee's choice of Johnson Sirleaf.

“Fantastic that Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf got the Nobel peace prize,” Ohlsson announced via Twitter.

“All of us who've met her admire how she has moved feminism into the parlours of politics.”

Social Democrat foreign policy spokesperson Urban Ahlin joined in hailing the award winners, saying the prize will “highlight women's situation in conflicts and their role in peace-building”.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) joined in the congratulations of the new Nobel peace laureates.

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"This prize highlights the powerful contribution that women around the world, in all walks of life, make to bettering the conditions for peace and human dignity," the group said in a statement.

"This award will generate much-needed further empowerment of the world's women as active and effective peacebuilders."

According to Elmberger, however, the prize is unlikely to have “major consequences” for Swedish development aid policies.

“However, it may help shift the focus to long-term cooperative efforts instead of only short-term humanitarian interventions,” she said.

David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

15:07 October 7, 2011 by zircon
No mention of Ms Johnson Sirleaf Swedish & EU best friend... That's not a good sign.
15:25 October 7, 2011 by bcterry
Thorbjorn Jagland, the chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, was quoted by the group on Twitter as saying "this year's prize sends a message to the Arab world about democracy [and] women's rights."

allah will snuff out any chance of that ever gaining any traction.
18:08 October 7, 2011 by Iraniboy
Tooo much better and more relavant than last year! In fact given the recent speech of Obama they should revoke his prize!
21:24 October 7, 2011 by shahislam
A nice selection, however, the brains, if honest, in 'the Western think tank' should understand the fact that any territorial public power under any of religious-type signboard-bearing organizations is not ultimately going to help 'the full bloom of humanity' on this Earth!
00:46 October 8, 2011 by Uncle
How come the muslims manage to get only peace prize, which is by definition, a prize to those who agreed to stop killing for a while? I mean 1,5 billion people having a real problem to get some real scientific prize. Mmmm what reason may that be?
07:32 October 8, 2011 by dreddie
They should choose winners that are a little easier on the eyes next year. Jeez.
09:52 October 8, 2011 by OUIJA
Once more, a political decision behind the prize. How many more to come? The Norwegian Nobel Committee is committing suicide and showing the world how politically correct they can be. Alfred Nobel and Bertha von Suttner would be ashamed. Norway has done everything in its power to cover with mud the once upon a time noble prize. Perhaps next year we sill see another Obama or Arafat getting it.
13:37 October 8, 2011 by motti
Yes the grand mufti's nephew the late paedophile murderer Yasser Arafat was also a peace prize winner. Surprised he was not allowed to wear his revolver as he did at the UN. Who takes this prize seriously anymore?
10:10 October 10, 2011 by OUIJA
The goals of feminism were always brilliant in their clarity: Convince women that they were an oppressed class that should agitate for political change. Hold out the promise that political change would yield a world of greater freedom that would eventually bring them greater happiness.

This project has failed.

Some may consider women getting the right to vote to be the triumph of feminism. But since feminists were a minority, the vote actually did not give them much of a voice. The real triumph of feminism was the legalization of abortion. The argument that women have the right to kill their own babies is not based on any known legal precedent, any traditional understanding of human rights, or any classic, civilized moral teaching. It turned the family violently inside out, making the very heart of the family its lethal enemy. But the feminist argument won…because a few men fell for it.

And there are still men who fall for it. In spite of all the evidence that feminism has failed-the broken homes, the day care generation, the wistfulness of working mothers, the fallout from promiscuous, loveless sex, and most of all, the deep regrets over abortion-the feminist flame still burns. But it is not women who have kept the flame alive. It is men. It is men failing in their masculine role. The male feminist has been the one of the worst influences in modern society. He represents the loss of chivalry, the loss of manliness, the loss of fatherhood, and the loss of authority.

15:59 October 11, 2011 by bcterry
10:10 October 10, 2011 by OUIJA ,

Those strong independent women who take control of their own lives, instead of whimpering in the background and succumbing to the dictate of males, scare the hell out of insecure men.

Sorry, male dominance is history, as it should be.
09:40 October 15, 2011 by OUIJA
"A feninist is a woman who failed as a woman;, therefore she tries to be successful as a man" Pitigrilli.
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