Photo: K. Opprann
Born: 1 February 1972, Monrovia, Liberia
Affiliation at the time of the award:
Prize motivation: "for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work."
Prize share: 1/3
Leymah Gbowee was born and raised in Liberia. She educated herself as a social worker and has worked to help those who suffered psychological trauma during the civil war in Liberia, including child soldiers. After having led the women's peace movement that was decisive in ending the civil war in 2002, she received a degree in her field from an American university. Leymah Gbowee is currently head of the Women Peace and Security Network Africa, based in Ghana. She has six children.
Women's rights and full participation in democratic processes are important to ensure lasting peace. In Liberia, bloody civil wars had ravaged the country since 1989 when Leymah Gbowee called together women from different ethnic and religious groups in the fight for peace. Dressed in white T-shirts they held daily demonstrations at the fishmarket in Monrovia. After having collected money she led a delegation of Liberian women to Ghana to put pressure on the warring factions during the peace-talk process. This played a decisive role in ending the war.