Gbowee Harnessed Power of Women to Help End War

Posted October 7th, 2011 at 2:05 pm (UTC-5)
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Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee says she is “overwhelmed” and “re-energized” by the news Friday that she has jointly received the Nobel Peace Prize.

The 39-year-old former social worker has been honored for bringing together thousands of women to help end a bloody, 13-year war in Liberia that killed 250,000 people.

Gbowee founded Women of Liberian Mass Action for Peace, a movement that united Muslim and Christian women who confronted warlords and strongman Charles Taylor.

Members demonstrated in white t-shirts, a color meant to symbolize their non-violent approach. At one point the women held a sex strike, refusing to have sex with their husbands until the unrest ended.

The women's group pressured Taylor to attend peace talks and its members once blocked rival factions from leaving a room during peace negotiations.

Gbowee's campaign is believed to have helped bring an end to the conflict in 2003. She said the prestigious award now gives her a larger platform to continue her work to get “women's voices to the table.”

In her autobiography 'Mighty Be Our Powers,' Gbowee described the group as an army of women in white who stood up, unafraid, to raise their voices to end war and restore sanity to their country.

Gbowee currently heads the Women, Peace and Security Network Africa, based in Accra, Ghana.

She has won the Nobel Peace Prize along with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Yemen's Arab Spring activist Tawakkul Karman.