Liberia's Nobel Prize Winner: African Women Look within for Change

Liberia's Nobel Prize Winner: African Women Look within for Change

Leymah Gbowee, the Liberian activist who last year won the Nobel Peace Prize, says she is disappointed with fellow winner Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberia's president, and believes laureates need to do more to spread the message of peace.

"I think there should be more required of us by the committee ... in terms of preaching the message," said Gbowee, who shared the 2011 prize with Johnson Sirleaf and Yemeni activist Tawakkol Karman.  

Three women's rights activists share Nobel Peace Prize and Nobel laureates should come together, particularly Peace Prize winners, "to really sit down and talk about the impact we're making on the world," she told CNN in an interview at the 8th Edition of the Women's Forum Global Meeting in France. Gbowee is a member of the Nobel Women's Initiative, established in 2006 by among others the late Wangari Maathai, which supports women's rights globally.

Offering hope to Liberian women Past Nobel Peace Prize winners Nobel winners discuss women's rights. Over the years, the Norwegian Nobel Committee's Peace Prize awards have come under scrutiny. Critics have questioned their choices and politics.

Many saw the award given to U.S. President Barack Obama in 2009, during the first year of his presidency, as premature. Many also question the fact that Indian leader Gandhi never received the prize, despite a number of nominations. This year's winner will be announced Friday.

Gbowee is credited with helping to end Liberia's civil war in 2003 by leading women in non-violent protest, including organizing "sex strikes." This week, the outspoken and charismatic campaigner publicly criticized fellow laureate Johnson Sirleaf for failing to fight corruption and nepotism in Liberia. "Let down by her, I won't say 100%, but on certain issues, yes," Gbowee said. Gbowee, who helped Johnson Sirleaf get reelected to a second term last year, asked why the Liberian president's three sons all have lucrative government posts.

She called for Johnson Sirleaf, who became Africa's first elected female head of state in 2005, to make one of her sons step down from his job as chairman of the state-owned National Oil Company (NOCAL). "The public (in Liberia) has spoken, these are the people who voted for (Johnson Sirleaf)," she said of the outcry in Liberia over the appointment.

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