Wednesday, October 20

Bertha von Suttner was the first. It has been followed by quite a few women Peace Prize winners.


A total of 107 people have received the great honor. Only 17 of them are women. Here, the Nobel Peace Prize is explained in numbers and graphs.

Austrian Bertha von Suttner won the Peace Prize in 1905.

On Friday, the Norwegian Nobel Committee announces the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. This year’s list of nominations is the third longest in history. 234 people and 95 organizations have been nominated, according to NTB.

The winner will be part of an exclusive club honored for work for peace.

This year’s favorites include Reporters Without Borders and The Committee to Protect Journalists. Putin’s critic Alexei Navalny is also nominated. The same goes for the leader of the Belarusian opposition. Svetlana Tikhanovskaja.

If Tikhanovskaya wins the award, she will become a member of one own Most exclusive club: Women winners of the Peace Prize. Of the 107 people who have won the Peace Prize, only 17 are women.

Svetlana Tikhanovskaja was in Oslo in August this year. There he met Norwegian-Belarusians outside the Storting.

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The first was the Austrian author and pioneer of peace. Bertha von Suttner. She received the award in 1905, as the second female Nobel laureate in history. Marie Curie received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1903.

– It was impossible to pass Von Suttner. She was the great apostle of peace, says Nobel historian Asle Sveen.

According to Von Suttner, it would be 26 years before a new woman won the Peace Prize, and before 1976 only three women had received the prestigious gold medal. Sveen calls the proportion of women up to the 1990s “shocking.”

– The Nobel Committee was for a long time dominated by men. Women were not taken seriously. There was an attitude that “yes, yes, they can talk, but they don’t mean anything,” he says.

This changed in the 1990s. Hanna Kvanmo became a member of the Nobel Committee in 1991 and Sissel Rønbeck in 1994.

– They were two very strong personalities. Subsequently, Inger Marie Ytterhorn, Kaci Kullmann Five, Ågot Valle and the current leader Berit Reiss-Andersen, among others, became part of the committee. This is another important reason why more women came as peace prize winners, Sveen says.

Only the Nobel Prize in Literature can boast an equally “high” proportion of women. In the other four categories, the proportion of male winners is 95 percent or more.

Women are also underrepresented among those who escape with the Peace Prize alone. However, when the prize has been awarded to three recipients (which is the maximum), the distribution by sex is even. But this has only happened twice in history.

The proportion of women is low. But what about age and geographic distribution?

Since 1901, the trend has been for winners to be younger, but you probably won’t be young if you win the Peace Prize. The exception is, of course Malala Yousafzai. He was 17 when he won. Otherwise, the winners are on average just over 57 years old. The average age is somewhat lower for women (51 years) than for men (63 years).

The Peace Prize winners come from all over the world, but most of them come from Europe and North America.

Before 1960, 96 percent of the Peace Prize winners were from Europe or North America. Over the past 40 years, 27 percent of the winners are from Asia, Africa, or Latin America.

25 organizations have won the Peace Prize. Only two of them are founded or based outside of North America or Europe, according to the Nobel Prize database. These are:

  • Grameen Bank (2006) i Bangladesh.
  • The international campaign against nuclear weapons (2017) in Australia.

In addition, he won The Quartet for National Dialogue the Peace Prize in 2015. They played a key role in trying to resolve the crisis that arose after the 2011 revolution in Tunisia.

The Nobel Prize is associated with great prestige, but it is also a significant cash award given to winners.

Alfred Nobel’s will decided that most of his fortune should be used to create a fund. The annual return will be divided and distributed among the winners in the different categories.

The amount has varied greatly during the history of the Peace Prize. The sum has increased a lot since the 1980s, before it was reduced in 2012 in the wake of the financial crisis. In recent years, the jackpot has risen again. In 2020, it was SEK 10 million.

Below, you can read more about the Peace Prize winners and the reasons for the Nobel Committee award.


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