The Nobel Women’s Initiative was established in 2006 by sister Nobel Peace Laureates Jody Williams, Shirin Ebadi, Wangari Maathai, Rigoberta Menchú Tum, Betty Williams and Mairead Maguire. The six women decided to bring together their extraordinary experiences in a united effort for peace with justice and equality. Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkol Karman joined the Initiative in 2012.
Mairead Maguire (born January 27, 1944) is a peace activist from Northern Ireland. She co-founded, with Betty Williams and Ciaran McKeown, the Women for Peace, which later became the Community for Peace People, an organization dedicated to encouraging a peaceful resolution of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Maguire and Williams were awarded the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize.
Rigoberta Mench Tum
Rigoberta Menchú Tum (born January 9, 1959) is a K’iche’ political activist from Guatemala. Menchú has dedicated her life to publicizing the rights of Guatemala’s indigenous feminists during and after the Guatemalan Civil War (1960–1996), and to promoting indigenous rights in the country. She received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992 and the Prince of Asturias Award in 1998.
Jody Williams (born October 9, 1950) is an American political activist known around the world for her work in banning anti-personnel landmines, her defense of human rights (especially those of women), and her efforts to promote new understandings of security in today’s world. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for her work toward the banning and clearing of anti-personnel mines.
Shirin Ebadi (born June 21, 1947) is an Iranian lawyer, a former judge and human rights activist and founder of Defenders of Human Rights Center in Iran. On 10 October 2003, Ebadi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her significant and pioneering efforts for democracy and human rights, especially women’s, children’s, and refugee rights.
Leymah Gbowee (born February 1, 1972) is a Liberian peace activist responsible for leading a women’s peace movement, Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace that helped bring an end to the Second Liberian Civil War in 2003. Her efforts to end the war, along with her collaborator Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, helped usher in a period of peace and enabled a free election in 2005 that Sirleaf won.
Tawakkol Karman (born February 7, 1979) is a Yemeni journalist, politician, and human rights activist. She became the international public face of the 2011 Yemeni uprising that is part of the Arab Spring uprisings. She is a co-recipient of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, becoming the first Yemeni, the first Arab woman, and the second Muslim woman to win a Nobel Prize and the second youngest Nobel Peace Laureate to date.
Wangari Maathai (1940–2011) was a Kenyan environmental activist. She founded the Green Belt Movement in the 1970s seeking to promote environmental conservation in Kenya and Africa. She became the first African women to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for “her contribution to sustainable development, democracy, and peace.” After campaigning for the restoration of democracy in Kenya during the 1990s, she served as a member of Parliament and Assistant Minister for the environment and natural resources between 2003 and 2005.
Betty Williams (born May 22, 1943) is a co-recipient with Mairead Corrigan of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976 for her work as a co-founder of Community of Peace People, an organization dedicated to promoting a peaceful resolution to the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Williams is a founding member of the Nobel Laureate Summit, which has taken place annually since 2000.