LONDON (AFP) - Three women are in the running for this year's Turner Prize, traditionally one of the most controversial in British art, organisers said Tuesday as they announced the shortlist. Four artists - Runa Islam, Goshka Macuga, Cathy Wilkes and Mark Leckey - were selected to contest the award, which is open to British artists under 50. The top prize is 49,000 dollars. Leckey has featured characters from the US cartoon series "The Simpsons" in his work while Wilkes uses shop mannequins in many of her installations. Only three women have previously won the award since it was created in 1984. The four sculptors and visual artists now have six months to select works for an exhibition at London's Tate Britain gallery before the winner is chosen on December 1. Last year's winner was Mark Wallinger, whose installation at Tate Liverpool in north-west England included a video of himself walking around a gallery after closing time dressed as a bear. He won for recreating the makeshift peace camp of an anti-Iraq war protester outside the Houses of Parliament in London. Critics have argued for years about whether the modern art award, which is billed as one of Europe's most prestigious for visual arts, puts too much emphasis on hype over talent. Previous winners have included Damien Hirst, who won it in 1995 with pieces including a rotting cow's head complete with maggots and flies and Chris Ofilie, who incorporated elephant dung into all his paintings in 1998. In 2005 the winner was Simon Starling, who dismantled a shed, made it into a boat, then turned it back into a shed again.