Today is International Women’s Day, which celebrates women for their economic, political and human rights achievements.
T4CI is proud to partner with so many wonderful women-led projects. After all, the sustainability and environmental movements began with women.
That’s why we wanted to salute a woman who would have been considered an environmental justice advocate – except the term wasn’t around during her time.
Many people know of Jane Addams as the founder of Hull House and the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (1931). Some may not realize how pioneering she was in uncovering environmental health concerns and advocating for environmental equality for all people, no matter their income or ethnicity. She helped to uncover lead poisoning and industrial poisons in many low-income housing and factories. She investigated slums (founding the profession of urban sociology), brought about passage of factory inspections, pushed for ending child labor, improved tenement conditions and sweatshops, fought for shorter hours, higher wages, protective labor laws, and established the nation’s first juvenile court.
The abridgment of civil liberties and attacks on pacifists in World War I (she was vilified as a traitor for opposing the war), led Addams to help found the American Civil Liberties Union. She died at 74, her work for social justice having impacted every aspect of American life.