The president of Liberia has been awarded the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, along with two other women.
The 10 million kronor award ($1.5 million) was split three ways between Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, women's rights activist Leymah Gbowee from the same country, and democracy activist Tawakkul Karman of Yemen -- the first Arab woman to win the prize.
Sirleaf, 72, holds a master's degree in public administration from Harvard University and has held top regional jobs at the World Bank, the United Nations, and within the Liberian government.
She became Africa's first democratically elected female leader in 2005. Sirleaf is a lifetime member of the United Methodist Church.
In a 2005 interview with the Associated Press, Sirleaf said she hoped to inspire young girls as a role model.
"I certainly hope more and more of them will be better off, women in Liberia, women in Africa, I hope even women in the world," she said.
Thorbjoern Jagland, the chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee told the Associated Press that Karman's award shows that both women and Islam have important roles to play in the wave of anti-authoritarian revolts across the Arab world, known as the Arab Spring.
"The Arab Spring cannot be successful without including the women in it," Jagland said.