Frenchman Gerard Mourou of the Ecole Polytechnique and University of MI will share half of the NZ$1.5 million the prize carries with Ms Strickland; Mr Ashkin gets the other half. This is the 50th Nobel awarded to a woman, in total since the prize began in 1901, however two of those prizes were awarded to Marie Curie - for Physics in 1903 and for Chemistry in 1911. She seemed surprised by the low number.
"It's true that a woman hasn't been given the Nobel Prize since then, but I think things are better for women than they have been", Strickland told the Canadian Press in an interview.
Carla Cooper is a science teacher at Lumsden High School, who was herself recognized with a Prime Minister's Award for teaching excellence in STEM this year.
He explained: "We needed a new way to create the peak power of laser pulses".
The last woman to win the physics prize, German-born American physicist Maria Goeppert-Mayer, took the prize for her discoveries about the nuclei of atoms.
Jim Al-Khalili, professor of theoretical physics at Britain's University of Surrey, said on Twitter it was "delicious" that Strickland had won the Nobel prize just days after Strumia's "misogynistic" comments.
This technique is used in millions of laser eye surgeries every year, according to the academy statement.
This year's Nobel Prize for physics has been awarded to three researchers for devising tools made from light. These days, though, scientific research is "a hobby more or less", he told the official website of the Nobel Prize. I do not have to go through what they went through because there were women out there paving the way for us. Becquerel received the other half of the prize that year.
In 1987 he discovered the device could be used to examine and manipulate living bacteria, and later viruses and other living cells, without damaging them. Then, along with several colleagues at Bell Laboratories (including future Nobel laureate Steven Chu), Ashkin followed up that work with a design, published in Optics Letters in 1986, for a single-beam optical trap that worked by passing laser light through a microscope objective lens.
Arthur Ashkin, 96, from Rumson, New Jersey, won the Nobel Prize in physics alongside Canadian woman Donna Strickland and Frenchman Gerard Mourou.
Optical tweezers "created entirely new opportunities for observing and controlling the machinery of life", the Nobel committee said.