The founder of the Nobel Foundation, Alfred Nobel, wanted to reward discoveries and work thought to benefit humankind. He left most of his fortune to this foundation back in 1895, which still follows the mission mapped out in his will. Prizes are awarded to people in five categories and peace is just one of these awards.
Since 1901, there have been 18 amazing women who have won the Nobel Prize for Peace! You’ll find highlights of why each woman won in this post.
1. Bertha von Suttner – Germany, 1905.
Bertha was awarded the Noble Peace Prize, “for her audacity to oppose the horrors of war.” She wrote the pacifist novel Lay Down Your Arms in 1889, which had 37 editions and was translated into 12 languages. She was also the chairwoman and founder of the German Peace Society among many other credits.
Bertha was the second female awarded a Nobel prize after Marie Curie in 1903 in physics. She grew up in Austria and moved to Germany with her husband later in life.
2. Jane Addams – United States, 1931.
As the President of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Jane was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for the group’s persistent “efforts to revive the ideal of peace…and to rekindle the spirit of peace in their own nation and in the whole of mankind.”
From Chicago, IL, she worked hard to encourage President Woodrow Wilson during World War I to mediate peace but made no headway. She also vocally opposed the peace treaty with Germany, claiming it would lead them into war again. She sure was right about that!

The American government labeled her a risk to national security, but finally honored her peace efforts at the end of her life.

3. Emily Greene Balch – United States, 1946.
Named a radical dissident, along with her peer Jane Addams, for their anti-war campaigning, sociologist Emily Balch took over for Jane as the leader of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom in 1935.
Having studied living conditions of the lower class, women, and Slavic immigrants, she became a socialist and champion of the people. Emily vehemently spoke out against fascism and criticized the big western democracies for not doing enough to stop Hitler and Mussolini in their tracks.
Born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, Emily shared her Nobel Peace Prize with John Raleigh Mott, who worked to create a peace-promoting religious brotherhood.
4 and 5. Mairead Corrigan & Elizabeth Williams– Ireland, 1976.
Born in Belfast, Ireland, Mairead was living in England when she won the Noble Peace Prize “for the courageous efforts in founding a movement to put an end to the violent conflict in Northern Ireland” between Catholics and Protestants.
Her charity work for the Catholic organization called the Legion of Mary, gave her the strong foundation to create the nonviolent strategy of the Community of Peace People. The group, with their grass-roots efforts, gathered thousands for protest marches in 1976-1977.
Mairead had been motivated by the tragic shooting deaths of her sister’s three children in a Belfast incident. She shared her Nobel Peace Prize with Elizabeth (Betty) Williams, who worked together for the same cause.
6. Mother Teresa – India, 1979.
At the age of 12, Gonxha Bojaxhiu joined a nunnery because she heard the call of God. After earning her education and adopting the new name of Teresa, she was sent to teach in Calcutta India. There she established the Missionaries of Charity as Mother Teresa, building homes for orphans and creating places to care for lepers and the terminally ill.
She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her work which brought help to suffering people. Later she was declared a saint by Pope Francis and the Catholic Church in 2016.
It’s amazing how strong and influential women have been over the years in their efforts to create a more peaceful world. Watch for parts two and three of this series which will cover the remaining 18 women who have won Nobel Peace Prizes.


Author: Ronnie Ann Ryan MBA, CCC, an Intuitive Coach and Wise Woman who quickly zeros in on the heart of the matter. She offers practical solutions to business and life issues using her well-honed intuition, so you can enjoy a more balanced life. Also a Past Life Reader, Soul Intelligence Energy Healer, and Bestselling Author with six books, Ronnie hosts the popular podcast Breathe Love & Magic which made it to the top 10% globally! If you want the intuitive edge to find the magic in your business and life, visit