December 10 is Jane Addams Day, an unofficial holiday that celebrates the first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
Created in 2007, the holiday is held annually on December 10 to commemorate the date in 1931 when Addams was awarded the world’s most prestigious award for those who work to spread peace and prosperity in the world and their communities – the Nobel Peace Prize.
The award is one of the five prizes instituted by the Swedish inventor, Alfred Nobel and is given out annually in Oslo, Norway. Addams shared her prize with Nicholas Murray Butler.
Feminist and Peace Activist
Born in 1860, Jane Addams was a social worker, a feminist, and a peace activist. She was committed to improving the lives of women and children and to improving conditions of underprivileged communities in Chicago. In 1889, she co-founded the Hull House in Chicago, a settlement house that encouraged educated women to work for social reform in working class neighborhoods in the city. Addams was also a feminist and believed that women had the right to vote and make themselves heard both in politics and in society.
Founder of Social Work
In addition to her prolific social work, Jane Addams was also involved in the creation of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). She is also known as the founder of social work in the United States.
How to Celebrate?
- Women like Jane Addams made it possible for women in the United States to have the political, economic and social opportunities they have today. So, spend this day reading about the history of women’s rights in the U.S.
- If you have children and kids in your life, tell them about the work of Jane Addams. The Jane Addams Peace Association gives out annual awards to children’s books that promote the cause of peace, equality and social justice.
- Even though Jane Addams worked hard to ensure social change, peace and equality, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. Celebrate the life and work of an inspiring woman by volunteering your time and money to a social justice charity.
- Remember, you don’t have to be in the United States to honor Jane Addams. Her ideals of equality, peace and justice are relevant to all times, ages and places.
Did You Know…
…that Jane Addams was only the second woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize? The first woman was peace activist Baroness Bertha Sophie Felicita von Suttner.