Wangarĩ Muta Maathai

This International Women’s Day, I’d like to celebrate Wangarĩ Muta Maathai, a inspiring campaigner for the environment and a fairer world.

An African woman looking toward the camera and smiling
Wangarĩ Muta Maathai, 2005
©John Mathew SmithCC BY-SA 2.0

Among her many achievements are:

  • First East African Woman to receive a PhD.

  • Chair of the Department of Veterinary Anatomy, University of Nairobi.

  • Founder of The Green Belt Movement, a Kenyan NGO focusing on tree planting, environmental conservation, and women’s rights.

  • Chairperson of the Middle Ground Group, an umbrella organization created to strengthen the pro-democracy movement in Kenya’s first multi-party elections.

  • Assistant Minister in the Ministry for Environment and Natural Resources, January 2003–November 2005.

  • First African woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

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