Gynecologist Denis Mukwege and human rights activist Nadia Murad have been awarded the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize for their respective fights against sexual violence.
While Denis Mukwege and his team of medical professionals have dedicated their lives to treating thousands of Congolese victims of sexual assaults (a shockingly common act of violence within the long-lasting civil war within the country), Nadia Murad, a Yazidi Iraqi who had suffered extensive first-hand sexual violence as a hostage in the hands of ISIS, has since put her life on the line yet again to speak out about her experience. As well as courageously recounting the ordeal, she has shed a light on a shared experience of many women among the Yazidi minority in the north of Iraq.
The tremendous influence of The Nobel Peace Prize is in its ability to spotlight not just the extraordinary efforts of individuals but the crucial issues that they address. While the Committee's choices may have been the source of some contention in the past (former laureate Jean-Claude Arnault was convicted of rape on October 1st), there's no doubt that this year has been a monumental one for the Academy—particularly with regards to gender and gender-related issues.
Other exciting awardees include Donna Strickland, the first female in over 55 years to win the Nobel Prize in physics, and Frances Arnold who became the fifth woman in history to win the Prize in chemistry.
Illustration by Niklas Elmehed