As part of my Women’s History Month Badass Women series, I’d like to spotlight an awesome under-recognized African woman: Wangari Maathai.
Maathai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her contribution to “sustainable development, democracy and peace” after years of activism, including starting the Green Belt Movement (GBM), which aims to reduce poverty and conserve the environment through tree planting. Maathai’s work is credited for women’s empowerment in the area—girls collected firewood while boys went to school, and the disappearance of forests only exacerbated the problem.
Her entire biography is well worth a read. Here is her official Green Belt Movement biography, and here is a tribute posted after her 2011 death that explains the connection between environmental conservation and women’s empowerment in more depth.
Thank you, Wangari Maathai!