Peace Women

The seven women featured in the illustration are all Nobel Peace Prize laureates. To learn more about their stories scroll down or click on the name:

Narges Mohammadi
Malala Yousafzai
Leymah Gbowee
Tawakkol Karman
Nadia Murad
Maria Ressa
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

I created these illustrations as part of a personal project to share images of positive role models for women and girls alike. These courageous women have raised their voices for a self-determined peaceful life for all.

Narges Mohammadi

Iranian human rights activist
awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2023 “for her fight against the oppression of women in Iran and her fight to promote human rights and freedom for all”. *

Narges Mohammadi was born on April 21, 1972 in Iran. She is a physicist by training but is best known for her work as a human rights advocate. She has worked with several organizations, including the Defenders of Human Rights Center, which was founded by Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi.

Mohammadi’s activism has come at a high personal cost. She has been arrested multiple times by the Iranian authorities. In 2016, she was sentenced to a lengthy prison term on charges that included “assembly and collusion against national security” and “propaganda against the state.” Despite being imprisoned, she continued to speak out against the human rights abuses in Iran.

The Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Mohammadi in 2023 highlights her persistent and brave efforts to bring attention to the plight of women and political prisoners in Iran. Her recognition brings international attention to the ongoing struggle for human rights in Iran and underscores the vital role of activists in advocating for change even under severe repression.

Malala Yousafzai

Pakistani activist for girls’ education
awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 with Kailash Satyarthi, “for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education” *

Malala Yousafzai was born on July 12, 1997 in Pakistan. Her father was an educator and ran a girls’ school in their village. She first gained international attention in 2009 when she started writing a blog for the BBC Urdu under a pseudonym, detailing her life under Taliban occupation and their attempts to ban girls from attending school. Her advocacy for girls’ education made her a target for the Taliban.

On October 9, 2012, Malala was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman while riding a bus home from school. The attack was intended to silence her advocacy, but it had the opposite effect. Malala survived after being flown to the United Kingdom for intensive treatment and rehabilitation. The assassination attempt sparked a global outpouring of support and brought even greater attention to her cause.

In 2014, Malala was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of her struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education. Malala’s award made her the youngest-ever Nobel laureate.

She co-founded the Malala Fund, an organization dedicated to ensuring 12 years of free, safe, and quality education for every girl. Malala has also authored a memoir, “I Am Malala,” which has been widely acclaimed and translated into numerous languages.

Malala graduated from the University of Oxford in 2020 with a degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE). Her activism remains influential as she works on a global scale to empower girls through education.

Leymah Gbowee

Liberian peace activist
Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011, along with Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Tawakkol Karman, “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work” *.

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Tawakkol Karman

Yemeni journalist, politician and human rights activist
Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011, sharing the honor with
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Leymah Gbowee, “for their nonviolent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.” *

Tawakkol Karman was born on February 7, 1979, in Taiz, Yemen, into a politically active family. She has a graduate degree in political science from Sana’a University.

Karman’s activism began in the early 2000s when she became involved in journalism and started advocating for freedom of expression. In 2005, she co-founded the group Women Journalists Without Chains (WJWC), which aimed to promote freedom of the press and denounce human rights violations.

Karman’s role as an advocate for human rights and democracy became more prominent in the years leading up to the Yemeni Revolution of 2011, which was part of the broader Arab Spring movement. She emerged as a leading figure in the protests against President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s regime, which was marked by widespread corruption, economic difficulties, and lack of political freedoms. Her tireless efforts and the mass mobilization of protesters eventually led to her arrest on multiple occasions. These arrests, rather than silencing her, only galvanized further support and increased her visibility both domestically and internationally.

In October 2011, Karman was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize along with Liberian activists Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Leymah Gbowee. She was the first Arab woman to receive the prestigious award.

After receiving the Nobel Prize, Karman continued her activism on a global scale, frequently speaking at international forums and conferences. In addition to her advocacy, Karman has been involved in various initiatives aimed at promoting peace and stability in the Middle East. She has called for an end to the conflict in Yemen and has worked with international organizations to address the humanitarian crisis in the country.

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Maria Ressa

Filipino-American journalist and author
ADvocate for press freedom and THe fight against disinformation
awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2021, alongside Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov, “for their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace”. *

Maria Angelita Ressa was born on October 2, 1963, in Manila, Philippines. At age 10, she moved to the United States and later attended Princeton University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in English and certificates in theater and dance in 1986. She then returned to the Philippines on a Fulbright Fellowship to study political theater at the University of the Philippines Diliman.

Ressa’s journalism career began at government television network PTV 4, and she later joined CNN, where she spent nearly two decades as an investigative reporter and bureau chief in Manila and Jakarta. She covered major events in Southeast Asia, including the rise of terrorism in the region.

In 2012, Maria Ressa co-founded Rappler, a digital news platform based in the Philippines, where she serves as the CEO and Executive Editor. Rappler quickly became known for its fearless journalism and innovative use of social media to engage audiences. The platform reported extensively on government corruption, human rights abuses, and the controversial anti-drug campaign initiated by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

Ressa has been a vocal critic of the Duterte administration’s policies, particularly its war on drugs, which has resulted in thousands of extrajudicial killings. Rappler’s investigative reports on these abuses and its fact-checking initiatives to combat fake news made the platform a target for government harassment.

In 2018, the Philippine government accused Rappler of violating foreign ownership rules, an allegation widely seen as an attempt to silence the news outlet. Subsequently, Ressa faced multiple legal charges, including cyber libel and tax evasion. In June 2020, she was convicted of cyber libel in a case viewed by many as a blow to press freedom.

On October 8, 2021, Maria Ressa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, alongside Dmitry Muratov. The Nobel Committee recognized their courageous fight for freedom of expression in the Philippines and Russia, emphasizing that a free, independent, and fact-based journalism serves to protect against abuse of power, lies, and war propaganda.

Despite facing ongoing legal battles and threats to her personal safety, Ressa continues to advocate for press freedom and democracy. She frequently speaks at international forums, urging the global community to uphold democratic values and support independent journalism. Her memoir, “How to Stand Up to a Dictator,” recounts her experiences and underscores the importance of press freedom in holding power to account.

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Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Liberian politician and economist
first elected female head of state in Africa
awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011, alongside Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkol Karman, for “their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work”. *

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was born on October 29, 1938, in Monrovia, Liberia. She received her early education in Liberia and later moved to the United States, where she earned a degree in accounting from Madison Business College in Madison, a Bachelor of Arts in economics from the University of Colorado Boulder and a Master of Public Administration at Harvard University,

After completing her education, Sirleaf returned to Liberia and began a career in public administration. She held several key positions in the government, including Minister of Finance under President William Tolbert from 1979 until the military coup in 1980. Following the coup, she fled Liberia and worked for various international financial institutions, including the World Bank and Citibank, as well as serving as the Director of the United Nations Development Programme’s Regional Bureau for Africa.

Sirleaf was an outspoken critic of the regimes of Samuel Doe and Charles Taylor, which led to periods of exile. She ran for president in the 1997 elections but was defeated by Charles Taylor. After Taylor’s regime ended in 2003, Sirleaf returned to Liberia and became actively involved in the transitional government.

In 2005, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf ran for president again and won, becoming the first female elected head of state in Africa. Her presidency focused on rebuilding Liberia’s economy, infrastructure, and institutions after years of civil war. Sirleaf prioritized anti-corruption measures, economic development, and the empowerment of women. She is credited with restoring stability to a nation and laying the groundwork for future development.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf served as the President of Liberia from 2006 to 2018. She was first inaugurated on January 16, 2006, and re-elected in 2011, serving until the end of her second term on January 22, 2018.

After leaving office, Sirleaf has continued to be active in various international organizations and an influential figure in global politics. Her memoir, “This Child Will Be Great: Memoir of a Remarkable Life by Africa’s First Woman President” details her life and career.

In 2011 the Nobel Committee awarded Sirleaf the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of her efforts to promote women’s rights and increase female participation in politics.

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MLA style: Narges Mohammadi – Facts – 2023. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2024. Fri. 7 Jun 2024.

MLA style: Malala Yousafzai – Facts. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2024. Fri. 7 Jun 2024.

MLA style: Leymah Gbowee – Facts. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2024. Fri. 7 Jun 2024.

MLA style: Tawakkol Karman – Facts. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2024. Fri. 7 Jun 2024.

MLA style: Nadia Murad – Facts – 2018. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2024. Fri. 7 Jun 2024.

MLA style: Maria Ressa – Facts – 2021. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2024. Fri. 7 Jun 2024.

MLA style: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf – Facts. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2024. Fri. 7 Jun 2024.

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