Collaboration and compassion, instead of competition and conflict: focus on Africa
In 110 years, only 15 women have received the Nobel Peace Prize. Only three are African. Two weeks ago, Nobel Peace Prize history was made – three recipients were honoured: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman. These women were awarded for their non-violent struggle in favour of “women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.”
Two of these winners are African. This decision has been welcomed with great enthusiasm. Graça Machel commented saying that these achievements were, “through collaboration and compassion, instead of competition and conflict”. She praised Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a pioneer as Africa’s first elected female head of state and Leymah Gbowee, “who has never held political office but whose activism brought peace to a country torn apart, by mobilising the power of women.”
Kofi Annan, laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize himself, expressed how pleased he was that three women received this special award: “Time and again we know that women are often the peacemakers in their households, in their communities and even at a national level. I am thrilled that women’s political participation in peacekeeping processes is yielding profound social change for Africa.”
We all know how much women’s participation is fundamental to democracy and essential to the achievement of sustainable development and peace, yet less than 10% of countries in the world have a woman leader. Despite progress in a few African countries, including Rwanda, which counts 58% women Parliamentarians, only 28 countries worldwide have more than 30% women in their government.
As the world begins to recognize the value of women’s power and creativity in promoting less armed conflict, more peace and greater social justice, leaders and citizens need to make room for the next generation of women leaders.
Is the deficit of women in politics the reason why three women were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize?