Merkel lauds Nobel Peace Prize-winning women
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, considered the world's most powerful woman, Friday hailed as a "very good signal" the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to a trio that have fought for women's rights.
"I think it is a very good signal that three women who have done a great deal internationally have won the Nobel Peace Prize this year," said Merkel following a meeting with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
"It will hopefully encourage many women -- and also many men -- worldwide to fight for freedom and democracy and against injustice," added the chancellor.
She reserved special praise for Yemen's Arab Spring activist Tawakkul Karman, saying: "The lady from Yemen is still in a situation where she is not free and therefore I would like to praise her courage especially."
The Nobel Prize Committee earlier Friday awarded the 2011 Peace Prize to Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberian "peace warrior" Leymah Gbowee and Karman.
The trio shared the award "for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work," Norwegian Nobel Committee president Thorbjoern Jagland said.
Karman was the first Arab woman to the win the Peace Prize.
Forbes magazine has named Merkel, 57, the world's most powerful woman for the fourth time, as the world looks to the leader of Europe's top economy to pilot the eurozone safely out of its debt crisis.
© 2011 AFP