Magazine article New Internationalist

Unbowed: One Woman's Story

Magazine article New Internationalist

Unbowed: One Woman's Story

Article excerpt

Unbowed: One Woman's Story by Wangari Maathai (William Heinemann, ISBN 9780434017393)

Born into rural poverty in Kenya in 1940, Wangari Maathai is a remarkable woman who has led an extraordinary life. A simple list of her achievements is enough to leave the reader gasping at her stamina and fortitude. One of the first girls from her village to receive an education, she was in the vanguard of African exchange students in the US. She became the first woman in Kenya to be awarded a PhD and the first to head a university department.

In addition to combining a demanding academic career with being a wife and mother in Kenya's patriarchal society, she became a community activist, involving herself in both feminist and ecological movements. Wangari was radicalized by the way the despotic regime of Daniel Arap Moi had betrayed the hopes of Kenyan independence; in particular the devastating effects illegal logging and corrupt land-grabs had on the natural environment. …

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