The 2011 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to three women Friday morning in Oslo, Norway. Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee and Yemen's Tawakkul Karman were honored for their work on women's rights.

Sirleaf, the president of Liberia, is Africa’s first democratically elected female president. “Since her inauguration in 2006, she has contributed to securing peace in Liberia, to promoting economic and social development, and to strengthening the position of women, said the Nobel Committee.

The committee added, “The world cannot achieve democracy and lasting peace unless women obtain the same opportunities as men to influence developments at all levels of society.

“Gbowee, it said, organized women across ethnic and religious dividing lines to bring an end to the long war in Liberia, and to ensure women’s participation in elections. She has since worked to enhance the influence of women in West Africa during and after war.

The committee said, “Karman played a leading part in the struggle for women’s rights and for democracy and peace in Yemen.