Skip to main content

Basic Biographical Information

Wangari Maathai was born on April 1, 1940 in Ihithe, Kenya at the foot of Mount Kenya. She is internationally recognized for her struggle for the environment, democracy, and women’s rights. Maathai was born into a traditional peasant family as the third of six children. It was her two older brothers who persuaded their parents to send the bright girl to school. She later earned a scholarship to attend a college in Kansas in 1960 where she obtained a bachelor in biology. She pursued her studies in Pennsylvania and in Germany before she returned to Kenya. Back in her home country, she was the first Eastern African woman to complete a Ph.D. She worked as a professor of veterinary anatomy in Nairobi and became the dean of her faculty. Maathai married in 1969 and has three children. The couple divorced in the mid-1980s and her husband, Mwang Mathai, was said to have remarked that she was too strong-minded for a woman. The case went to court. Maathai was jailed...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Chapter
USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
eBook
USD 1,100.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Hardcover Book
USD 1,099.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

References/Further Readings

  • Breton, M. (2000). Women pioneers for the environment. Boston: Northeastern University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Maathai, W. (2006). Unbowed: A memoir. New York: Alfred Knopf.

    Google Scholar 

  • Maathai, W., & (2003). The Green Belt Movement: Sharing the approach and the experience. New York: Lantern Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Merton, L., et al. et al. (2008). Taking root: The vision of Wangari Maathai. Marlboro, NJ: Marlboro Productions.

    Google Scholar 

  • United Nations Environment Programme (2004). Women and the environment. Nairobi: UNEP.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2010 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC

About this entry

Cite this entry

Schmid, E. (2010). Maathai, Wangari Muta. In: Anheier, H.K., Toepler, S. (eds) International Encyclopedia of Civil Society. Springer, New York, NY. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-93996-4_245

Download citation

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-93996-4_245

  • Publisher Name: Springer, New York, NY

  • Print ISBN: 978-0-387-93994-0

  • Online ISBN: 978-0-387-93996-4

  • eBook Packages: Humanities, Social Sciences and Law

Publish with us

Policies and ethics