When women politicians are running for an office, they are always set up to be scrutinized in a different way. Assumptions are easily made about what they should or shouldn’t be. While these women in politics are expected to display certain “feminine” personality traits (empathetic, patient, kind, etc) , they are also supposed to support “feminine” issues. One issue that is traditionally seen as feminine is the environment.
In a reading from Norgaard and York, they talk about the relationship between gender and the state. They believe that that state is typically patriarchal. They also argue that nations with a greater gender equality are more likely to protect the environment. This is for a few different reasons. One is what I mentioned above – according to research, women are more likely to defend the environment and think about the consequences of their actions on the environment. This will come to no surprise to anyone who has been reading my blog about the connection between women and the environment. It goes back to the very basics of how oppressing the earth is the same as oppressing women.
Another reason is that in nations where there is more gender equality, it is more socially acceptable to be somebody who supports the environment. That accepting, “forward-thinking” environment breeds the positive influence that wants to protect nature.
In American politics, a shining example of this theory is the Green New Deal. The Green New Deal is a plan that would massively change a lot of norms in our society in order to try to save our planet. It is controversial because of it’s extremities, but supported mainly by Democrats. The Democratic party is known for being more liberal, more feminist, and more concerned about the environment. There is a feminist sect of this deal from different political groups that can be read about here: https://wedo.org/feminist-green-new-deal-press-release/. The press release for this group says: “The 10 key principles call for advancing reproductive justice, the creation of regenerative economies centered on feminist analysis and understanding of the care economy, a shift from exploitative and unsustainable production patterns and a rejection of false solutions to the climate crisis” (WEDO).
Another example of Norgaard and York’s theory comes from a Yale study. The study states that countries with more female politicians pass more ambitious climate policies. This is almost exactly what the Norgaard and York reading said. Researchers studied the legislatures of 91 different countries, then compared the percentage of seats held by women. They found that the more women represented, the more the environment was too. To double check their work, they also compared education levels, overall political affiliations, etc. None of these influences correlated – it was only women. More can be read about the study here: https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2019/09/countries-with-more-female-politicians-pass-more-ambitious-climate-policies-study-suggests/
An interesting fact I found about how equality in governing relates to climate change came from Switzerland. Switzerland has made a plan to meet their Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. The government has been providing resources in order to help them meet this, and provided an image to show how women’s equality plays a big role in that. This is the government recognizing feminism and women’s equality, like the reading said.
More can be found here: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/09/why-women-cannot-be-spectators-in-the-climate-change-battle/
Harrington, Samantha. “Countries with More Female Politicians Pass More Ambitious Climate Policies, Study Suggests ” Yale Climate Connections.” Yale Climate Connections, Yale, 9 Sept. 2019, www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2019/09/countries-with-more-female-politicians-pass-more-ambitious-climate-policies-study-suggests/.
Sinha, Vaishali. “We Can Solve Climate Change – If We Involve Women.” World Economic Forum, www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/09/why-women-cannot-be-spectators-in-the-climate-change-battle/.
“Women’s Rights and Climate Activists Launch a Feminist Agenda for a Green New Deal.” WEDO, 25 Sept. 2019, wedo.org/feminist-green-new-deal-press-release/.
This is a source that was recommended by my teacher. It is a real organization, not a random .com website. It provides additional resources and cites it’s sources.
4 Replies to “Women in Politics”
Thanks for sharing that chart at the end of your blog, it’s amazing that something as simple as equality can affect the environment in something as large as climate change! It does go to show a little goes a long way, I hope that this becomes a large enough topic for other countries across the world to follow suit. However, this is all about change and risk taking, how do we know they are willing to risk for change.. for the better. Also, because I am not into politics I appreciate the insight on democrats being more towards feminists and are more liberal.
Thanks for sharing that chart at the end of your blog, it’s amazing that something as simple as equality can affect the environment in something as large as climate change! It does go to show a little goes a long way, I hope that this becomes a large enough topic for other countries across the world to follow suit. However, this is all about change and risk taking, how do we know they are willing to risk for change.. for the better. Also, because I am not into politics I appreciate the insight on democrats being more towards feminists and are more liberal. (My first comment posted as anonn).
Your post highlighted the sexism that attributes to the fact that women are more likely to advocate for environmental policies, and I agree with your approach. It is very true that it is often a narrow, gendered expectation of women to be more compassionate and nurturing, therefore making them more inclined to favor the protection and betterment of nature. It is also noted that, in the ecofeminist perspective, women are more likely to support climate and environmental advocacy due to the link between women and environmental degradation. The example you provided of the Feminist Green New Deal highlights Norgaard and York’s thesis. You contributed information as well about the Green New Deal in response to my post that I found very informative and had not previously known, so I also thank you for that. The Feminist Green New Deal shows that women’s struggles can also be viewed through and ecological standpoint, and the contribution of women to the environmental politics of the US could lead to more gender equality.
Mandi, I think that you did a great job finding data that correlates to the Norgaard and York study. I have to admit that I haven’t thought about the Green New Deal before when thinking about the topic of feminism / gender equality in environmentalism. However, I can see how you could relate the two! I would’ve loved to see you elaborate on that point more as well, as I think it would’ve strengthened the other points you made. I agree with the points that you made in your intro, about how women are often scrutinized when it comes to having a political voice. I also agree that women are often expected to behave in a certain way / come off as a certain way (i.e. gentle, feminine, caring…). However, I wish you would’ve dove a little deeper into how environmental issues are mainly considered a feminist issue, and elaborated more on why women are seen more supporting environmental activism. Again, all great points – but explain more!