The Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences today awarded half the 9-million-kronor (US$1.01 million) prize to Arthur Ashkin of the United States and the other half will be shared by Strickland and France's Gerard Mourou.
USA citizen Ashkin, 96, received the award "for the optical tweezers and their application to biological systems", which enables radiation pressure of light to move physical objects, "an old dream of science fiction".
Macron tweeted on Tuesday "we are proud of Gerard Mourou", the 74-year-old co-winner with Arthur Ashkin of the United States and Canada's Donna Strickland.
"Obviously we need to celebrate women physicists, because we're out there".
Asked what her first reaction to the news was, Strickland told the press conference announcing the prize, "First of all, you have to think it's insane, so that was my first thought".
Ashkin told the Nobel committee that he may not be able to give any interviews because "he is very busy with his latest paper".More news: Maurizio Sarri demanding more from Chelsea 'genius' Eden Hazard
The Nobel prizes have always been dominated by male scientists, and none more so than physics.
The Guelph-born Strickland, who is an associate professor at Waterloo, told the academy she was left in disbelief when she got the call from Stockholm notifying her of the win, saying she thought it was "crazy".
Ashkin first worked on getting laser light to push small particles towards the centre of the beam and hold them there. These optical tweezers could then be used to control and direct individual cells, viruses, proteins, and even atoms.
And, for the first time in more than half a century, a woman - Donna Strickland - is one of the winners.
The field of laser manipulation is still pushing toward higher intensities, sharper focus, and more power-as this technology develops, the discoveries made by this year's Nobel awardees could have implications for subjects as widespread as medicine, electronics hardware and nuclear physics.
Around the same time, Mourou and Strickland were working together at the University of Rochester to overcome a problem that had dogged laser research for decades: High intense laser beams tended to destroy the material used to amplify them.