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Schnader Salutes Wangari Maathai, an Unsung Woman Hero, in Honor of International Women’s Day

On March 9, 2020 by Schnader in News

In honor of International Women’s Day 2020, each day this week we will be sharing stories of unsung women who have made great changes in the world.

Photo by Martin Rowe

Wangari Maathai, the first African woman to win a Nobel Prize and founder of the “Green Belt” Movement, was born in 1940 in the village of Ihithe in Kenya. In the 1960’s, she received a scholarship to study in the United States and earned a master’s degree in Biology at the University of Pittsburgh, where she first became interested in environmental restoration.

In 1977, Maathai began The Green Belt Movement, a program that helped rural women in Kenya by compensating them via stipends in exchange for collecting native seeds from the forests and planting tree nurseries throughout the country.  Since then, the organization has planted more than 50 million trees and provided training in forestry, bee-keeping, and other trades to more than 30,000 women. She was a vocal opponent of a corrupt regime, and was beaten and arrested while fighting for the protection of civil rights and the environment.

In 2004, Maathai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her “contribution to sustainable development, democracy, and peace.” She was the first African woman and the first environmentalist to receive a Nobel Prize, and the first Eastern African woman to receive a PhD.  Schnader salutes Maathai, and we are inspired by her global contributions.

More information on Wangari Maathai can be found here:

https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/peace/2004/maathai/facts/

https://www.greenbeltmovement.org/wangari-maathai