OSLO, Norway - Three women who fought injustice, dictatorship, and sexual violence in Liberia and Yemen accepted the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize on Saturday, calling on repressed women worldwide to rise up against male supremacy.
"My sisters, my daughters, my friends - find your voice," Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said after collecting her Nobel diploma and medal at a ceremony in Oslo.
Sirleaf, Africa's first democratically elected female president, shared the award with women's-rights campaigner Leymah Gbowee, also from Liberia, and Tawakkul Karman, a female icon of the protest movement in Yemen.
The peace prize was announced in October, along with the Nobel awards for medicine, physics, chemistry, literature, and economics. Worth $1.5 million each, the Nobel Prizes are always handed out on the anniversary of award founder Alfred Nobel's death on Dec. 10, 1896.
By selecting Karman, the prize committee recognized the Arab Spring movement that has toppled autocratic leaders in North Africa and the Middle East. Praising Karman's struggle against Yemen's regime, Nobel committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland also sent a message to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose crackdown has killed more than 4,000 people according to U.N. estimates.
"President Assad in Syria will not be able to resist the people's demand for freedom of human rights," Jagland said.
Karman is the first Arab woman to win the prize and at 32 the youngest peace laureate ever. A journalist and founder of the human-rights group Women Journalists without Chains, she also is a member of the Islamic party Islah.
In her acceptance speech, Karman paid tribute to Arab women and their struggles "in a society dominated by the supremacy of men."
This year's prize generated less controversy than the 2010 award, which went to imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, infuriating China's leadership. Xiaobo was represented by an empty chair at the award ceremony.
The other Nobel Prizes - in medicine, chemistry, physics, and literature, and the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences - were presented by Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf at a separate ceremony Saturday in Stockholm.