Why so few women Nobel winners?
By Saeanna Chingamuka,.iol.co.za – The recognition of three women in the Nobel Peace Prizes announced earlier this month came as a welcome variation to the long list of male names, but it also begged the question why women so rarely get the prize, and why when they do, they have to share it.
The awarding of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize on October 7 to three women, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (President of Liberia), Leymah Gbowee (founder of Women in Peacebuilding Programme, Liberia) and Tawakkul Karman (journalist and peace activist, Yemen) exemplifies the role that women play in peace processes. But they are a rare exception.
Nobel Prizes have been in existence since 1901. They are awarded in the following categories: physics; chemistry; medicine; peace, literature and economic sciences. In total, the prizes have been awarded 549 times to 853 people and organisations. Some have received the prize more than once. Thus a total of 826 individuals and 20 organisations have received the prize.
Between 1901 and 2011, only 43 women (5%) have been awarded prizes with Marie Curie having been honoured twice in 1903 in Physics and 1911 in Chemistry. Men have received 783 prizes.
Of the 101 individuals awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, 15 (1.5%) are women. Of these, 62 have been given to one Laureate and 28 have been shared by two Laureates. Only two Peace Prizes have been shared among three Laureates. In 1994, Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres, Yitzhak Rabin shared the prize. Sirleaf, Gbowee and Karman constitute the only other instance in which three individuals have shared the prize.
While it always takes more than one person to bring about peace, it is noticeable that on one of the rare occasions that women won the prize, three shared it. Two came from the same country – Liberia. The third came from a completely different country – Yemen. Read more…