|Yemeni activist Tawakkul Karman speaks on the telephone after the announcement of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize.|
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to three women's rights activists in recognition of their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for full participation in peace-building work. The award was split between Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who campaigned against rape and spoke out against Yemen's autocratic regime; Liberian Leymah Gbowee, who touted democracy in the region; and pro-democracy activist Tawakkul Karman of Yemen.
Karman was the first Arab woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize as she was seen as a model for the sweeping revolutions that gripped the Middle East during the Arab Spring demonstrations of 2011. "The Arab Spring cannot be successful without including the women in it," Nobel Chairman Thorbjrn Jagland told The Associated Press. "It was not easy for us to say to pick one from Egypt or pick one from Tunisia, because there were so many," Jagland said. "I give the prize to the youth of revolution in Yemen and the Yemeni people," Karman told the AP. Sirleaf became the first democratically-elected African leader in 2005 in a country that had been wrought by a 14-year civil war that left some 200,000 dead and another nearly 1.5 million displaced. Gbowee actively opposed rape against women and organized Christian and Muslim women to challenge Liberian warlords. She also led demonstrators through Liberian capital Monrovia in efforts to disarm fighters who preyed on women, according to the AP. -- Written by Joe Deaux in New York. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: email@example.com