State Government

Norgaard and York’s discourse is about interconnection to the exploitation of women and nature, as it relates to politics. Part of the “empirical” evaluation (male/female researchers) focused in on inequality having to do with gender and the impact it have on how women in some states are able to gain positions in parliament which allows them to push for environmental safety.  Heavy emphasis on this selection displayed how the roles of women being caretakers of the home, family and the community, plays a part in representation when it came to state environmentalism. Their analysis not only covered how the “gender gap” pertaining to the environment differed from state to state and highlighted “the numerical impact” which largely depends on economic data.  But it also showed that “if women tend to be more environmentally progressive, the inclusion of women as well as members of society – as voters, citizens, policy makers and social movement participants – should positively influence behavior” (Norgaard, York; 508). The thought process was that women would have a voice, particularly in national legislative council which could empower a more constructivist balance for gender and the environment.  However, (and as stated above) Norgaard and York argued that this view could be an optimistic one, simply because women are indeed seen as “nurturers and caretakers”, less being part of a political body.

Following part of their study, Norgaard and York’s outlook of feminist theory saw links of oppression centered on socio-economic factors (gender, race, class). A revelation of “ecofeminists links between gender and environmental behavior of nations-states goes beyond gender equality to social equality more generally” (Norgaard, York 518). The data showed a prevalence in gender inequality and environmental degradation, particularly in poor states such as Singapore, as “wealth and modernization” was above environmental protection. Whereas, states such as Norway, in spite gender differences, women were able to bring their initiative for environmental protection to policy and law. They stated that for this reason, “Norway continues to take the lead on this convention and many other environmental issues and currently has one of the highest rates of participation of women in government in the world…Singapore provides a contrast with Norway in several respects, particularly on levels of gender equality and environmental treaty ratification. Therefore, Singapore’s environmental record is generally poor, even beyond the failure of treaty ratification” (Norgaard, York; 517). They concluded their report by discussing how “global efforts aimed at developing environmental policies should therefore concentrate more on improving the status of women, including especially those efforts aimed at increasing women’s political representation” (Norgaard, York; 519).

The “Paris Agreement” is an example of how women can make a global difference in climate change/ environmental degradation. The agreement is one that was made to prevent global temperatures from rising causing damage due to carbon and other greenhouse gases. Women’s participation was critical to the agreement for many reasons including “1) Women, especially poor women in developing countries, are often the most vulnerable to climate impacts as a result of social structures and existing inequalities, 2) Women are more likely than men to engage in environmentally sensitive behaviors, such as recycling, conserving water and using environmentally friendly products, and 3) UNDP’s 2011 Human Development Report found evidence that when gender inequality is high, forest depletion, air pollution and other measures of environmental degradation are also high” (Durham, Elwell and Elliott, World Resources Institute). Another example of how women make a difference is that of the “Green New Deal” which has a plan to convert/renew energy. Similar to the Paris Agreement, it’s another example of how women right here in the US combat political environmental issues. Women like Rhianna Gunn-Wright and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez present ways in which we can combat climate change with renewable energy. The women had a heavy hand in the implementation of a bill called the “Green New Deal”. “It seeks to solve the climate crisis by combining quick action to get to net- zero greenhouse gas emissions and 100% renewable energy by 2030 along with an “Economic Bill of Rights” – the right to single-payer healthcare, a guaranteed job at a living wage, affordable housing and free college education” (Germain Starr, T;

The above examples links to Norgaard and York’s research in that women advocate for women  poor or helpless) in the fight against environmental degradation.   In both cases womens participation in politics was to influence high levels of policy making, which helped develop economic balance for the country as well as their communities.

 I chose the following statistic because it illustrates what Norgaard and York’s research found; “societies with greater representation of women in Parliament are more prone to ratify environmental treaties” (Norgaard, York; 512). This image is the opposite of what we should be seeking but it also states the facts, and although it was taken in 2017 still has not changed that much. This means that more women is needed in order for global environmental reform to take place in way that supports the needs of women, not just in the Global South but all states.


Annotated Bibliography:

Courtney Durham, Natalie Elwell and Cynthia Elliott – November 11, 2016

Courtney Durham, Natalie Elwell and Cynthia Elliott discussed how women in the Paris agreement made a difference in the negotiations.  The article also showed how the activists contributions promoted social justice for climate change.

One Reply to “State Government”

  1. Hi Mary.
    I really enjoyed reading your blog. You made a detailed explanation of Norgaard and York’s empirical findings and thesis. Inclusive to how women may not be seen as decision-makers but as caretakers. Norgaard and York point out that due to societal values, ideologies, institutions and economic systems human environmental relationships as gendered and “enable sexism and environmental degradation” (Norgaard and York). This sexism is the gender discrimination I think they are talking amount when they mention the barriers to women’s political involvement and participation in environmentalism. However, they also say “gender equality may influence the environmental behavior of nation states” (Norgaard and York 508). Ultimately their findings suggested that greater representations of women in government resulted in positive changes in environmental law. I noticed you mention the contrast between Norway and Singapore as described by Norgaard and York and also found it interesting that beyond political involvement women were also discouraged from participating in organizations for women’s rights. They only have one in the country, The Association of Women for Action. In regard to this organization the state requires that it be kept in a “social” rather than “political” nature. I thought this really highlighted the concept of the “interlocking perspective theory” discussed that states “societies that are more environmentally responsible are less sexist” (Norgaard and York). As for Norway’s more progressive environmental laws, the fact that an important political leader was a woman speaks for itself. In 1983 Gro Harlem Bruntland placed many women in law making positions and passed legislation that supported gender, and human health issues. Interestingly enough today there is still a woman Prime minister in Norway. Her name is Erna Solberg. Which according to Norgaard and York may be the reason for Norway being environmentally superior to other countries were gender inequality still exists.

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