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Every day we hear about the extraordinary strides women are making around the globe.  Recently, Brazil's president, Dilma Rousseff, became the first woman to open the United Nations General Assembly session.  The International Monetary Fund is headed for the first time by a woman, Christine Lagarde.  In Saudi Arabia, the government recently  granted women the right to vote and to run for elections in 2015 (hopefully, women in that country will win the right to drive by the time they head to the polls).

And the Nobel Prize Committee just chose Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, peace activist Leymah Gbowee, and human rights activist Tawakkul Karmen, all women, as winners of the 2011 Peace Prize.  The Committee lauded the women's non-violent approaches.

Liberian President Sirleaf, a Harvard trained economist, became Africa's first democratically elected female president in 2005.  Her efforts to secure peace in her country and to promote economic and social development for women have brought a huge focus on women's rights in the region.

Leymah Gbowee, head of the Women Peace and Security Network, was honored for her work in ensuring women's participation in elections.

Tawakkul Karmen, a 32-year old mother, heads the human rights group Women Journalists Without Chains and is a leading figure in the protests against Yemeni President Saleh.  She is known as "the iron woman" and the "mother of the revolution."

I look up to these women and to the many other women around the world who spend every day fighting for peace in their countries and for recognition for women.

Who are your heroines?

photo: Fotos Gov/Ba

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Sheila Hollender likes to blog about the environment and health issues.