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Women Nobel Peace Prize Winners

Women Who Have Won the Nobel Peace Prize

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Women Nobel Peace Laureates are fewer in number than men who have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, even though it may have been a woman's peace activism which inspired Alfred Nobel to create the award. In recent decades, the percentage of women among the winners has increased.

1. Baroness Bertha von Suttner

Bertha Von Suttner 1910
Getty Images / Hulton Archive
Nobel Peace Prize, 1905
A friend of Alfred Nobel, Baroness Bertha von Suttner was a leader in the international peace movement in the 1890s, and she received support from Nobel for her Austrian Peace Society. When Nobel died, he bequeathed money for four prizes for scientific achievements, and one for peace. Though many (including, perhaps, the Baroness) expected the peace prize to be awarded to her, three other individuals and one organization were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize before the committee named her in 1905.

2. Jane Addams

Jane Addams 1910
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Nobel Peace Prize, 1931 (shared with Nicholas Murray Butler)
Jane Addams, best known as the founder of Hull-House, a settlement house in Chicago, was active in peace efforts during World War I with the International Congress of Women. Jane Addams also helped to found the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. She was nominated numerous times, but the prize went each time to others, until 1931. She was, by that time, in ill health, and could not travel to accept the prize.

3. Emily Greene Balch

Emily Greene Balch
Courtesy Library of Congress

Nobel Peace Prize, 1946 (shared with John Mott, YMCA)
A friend and co-worker of Jane Addams, Emily Balch also worked to end World War I and helped to found the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. She was a professor of social economics at Wellesley College for 20 years, but was fired for her World War I peace activities. Though a pacifist, Balch supported the American entry into World War II.

4. Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan

Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan
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Nobel Peace Prize, 1976
They founded the Northern Ireland Peace Movement. Betty Williams, a Protestant, and Mairead Corrigan, a Catholic, came together to work for peace in Northern Ireland, organizing peace demonstrations that brought together Roman Catholics and Protestants, protesting violence by British soldiers, Irish Republican Army (IRA) members (Catholics), and Protestant extremists.

5. Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa in 1983
Getty Images / Paco Junquera
Nobel Peace Prize, 1979
Born in Skopje, Macedonia (formerly in Yugoslavia and the Ottoman Empire), Mother Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity in India and focused on serving the dying. She was skilled at publicizing her order's work and thus financing the expansion of its services. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her "work in bringing help to suffering humanity." She died in 1997 and was beatified in 2003 by Pope John Paul II.

6. Alva Myrdal

Alva Myrdal in 1970
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Nobel Peace Prize, 1982 (shared with Alfonso García Robles)
Alva Myrdal, a Swedish economist and advocate of human rights, as well as a United Nations department head (the first woman to hold such a position) and Swedish ambassador to india, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with a fellow disarmament advocate from Mexico, at a time when the disarmament committee at the UN had failed in its efforts.

7. Aung San Suu Kyi

Aung San Suu Kyi
Getty Images / Drn
Nobel Peace Prize, 1991
Aung San Suu Kyi, whose mother was ambassador to India and father de facto prime minister of Burma (Myanmar), won election but was denied the office by a military government. Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her nonviolent work for human rights and independence in Burma (Myanmar). She has spent most of her time since 1989 under house arrest or imprisoned by the military government for her dissident work.

8. Rigoberta Menchú Tum

Rigoberta Menchu in 2002
Getty Images / David McNew

Nobel Peace Prize, 1992
Rigoberta Menchú was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her work for "ethno-cultural reconciliation based on respect for the rights of indigenous peoples."

9. Jody Williams

Jody Williams in 2007
Getty Images / Pascal Le Segretain
Nobel Peace Prize, 1997 (shared with the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, ICBL)
Jody Williams was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her work with the International Campaign to Ban Landmines.

10. Shirin Ebadi

Shirin Ebadi
Getty Images / Pascal Le Segretain
Nobel Peace Prize, 2003
Iranian human rights advocate Shirin Ebadi was the first person from Iran and the first Muslim woman to win a Nobel Prize.
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