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Environmentalism feminism and_gender

  1. 1. Environmentalism, Feminism, and GenderD. Clayton Smith, WesternKentucky Universiw Although social scientists have written much recently about environmentalism, feminism, and gender, insufficient systematic examination of their interrelations has been done. The lack of adequate research on links among these three concepts limits their usefulness for both grassroots mobilization efforts and general theory development. The present exploratory study surveys a college student sample ( N = 393) clarifying the relationships between liberal environmentalism, gender, and feminism. Relationship be- tween feminism and attitudes toward human use of the environment and between gender and environmental regulation are found suppressed by a relationship between feminism and environmentalism.Although tentative, these findings suggest new directions for the study of ecofeminism. Interest in the relationships among gender, feminism, and environmentalismis at an all-time high, yet research examining the interconnections of these threeconcepts is split into two distinct intellectual traditions. One body of work, de-veloped within feminist philosophy, details the theoretical relationship betweenfeminism and environmentalismbut has done little research concerning individ-ual understanding and acceptance of this link. The other research tradition, em-ployed by environmental social scientists, addresses the relationship betweengender and environmentalismbut has habitually slighted the association betweenfeminism and environmentalism. This exploratory study strives to bridge the gapbetween these research streams by attending to the interrelationships among en-vironmentalism, gender, and feminism. The first of the two intellectual traditions, called ecological feminism orecofeminism, is a philosophy that connects the patriarchal domination of womenwith the patriarchal domination of nature (Merchant 1992; Warren 1990). Sincethe original conceptualization of ecofeminism in the 1970s, major emphasis hasbeen placed on delineating the interconnections between these two forms ofdomination. To this en4 feminists have created several variants of ecofeminism,each with its own perspective on how and why these dominations occur and whatmeasures are necessary to achieve a more feminist and environmentally orientedsociety (Lahar 1991; Merchant 1992; Sturgeon 1997). Ecofeminists believe thatby describing these ecofeminist variants they provide a better understanding ofSociologicalInquiry, Vol. 71, No. 3, Summer 2001, 314-3402001 by the University of Texas Press, PO. Box 7819, Austin, TX 78713-7819
  2. 2. ENVIRONMENTALISM, FEMINISM, AND GENDER 3 15the current forms of domination and a foundation on which individuals can builda deeper environmental and feminist ethic (Davion 1994). Connecting ecofeminist critiques to political action has been another majoremphasis for ecofeminists (Sturgeon 1997). For instance, some ecofeministshave attempted to use ecofeminism to account for social movement participation(Bantjes and Trussler 1999; Lahar 1991; Peterson and Merchant 1986; Sommaand Tolleson-Rinehart 1997; Sturgeon 1997). The idea that ecofeminism aids inmovement mobilization, however, is not accepted universally. Many activists andscholars argue that the union of environmentalism and feminism actually servesto weaken both movements and to continue patriarchal domination (Biehl 1991;Cameron 1989; King 1981). These scholars note that environmental activists, es-pecially female activists, fear the public’s perception of feminist and ecofeministlabels (Jacobson 1979, 1981; Merchant 1992).’ Other activists argue that waitingfor ecofeminist scholars to elaborate theoretical positions can inhibit socialmovement action (Alldred and Dennison 2000). From a social movement perspective, the success of ecofeminist perspec-tives in social movement mobilization hinges, in part, on whether actors make aconnection between their attitudes toward the environment and their attitudes to-ward women and women’s roles in society. If individuals do perceive a connec-tion between environmentalism and feminism, the use of ecofeminist rhetoricand symbols by social movement organizations should work to align potentialparticipant’s frames with those of the social movement organization and increasemovement mobilization (Eyerman and Jamison 1991; Snow, Rochford, Worden,Benford 1986). Unfortunately, while ecofeminist scholars have worked to under-stand and document their paradigms historically, experientially, symbolically,and theoretically, their research has not empirically linked individuals’ environ-mental attitudes with their attitudes toward feminism. The other main research tradition, the gender differences literature, devel-oped from environmental social scientists, attempts to discover the social basesfor environmental concern. The gender differences literature consists of a bodyof empirical research concerning the relationship between gender and environ-mental beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. While the gender differences literaturecomplements the ecofeminist tradition by focusing on empirical relationships,the research in this tradition examining general environmental concern amongAmerican adults has not consistently supported a gender difference.2 Looking at the studies of gender differences on general environmental con-cern in America, three studies of general environmental attitudes have foundmen more environmentally concerned than women (Arcury 1990; Arcury, Scollay, and Johnson 1987; MacDonald and Hara 1994; McEvoy 1972), while anumber of other researchers conclude that at least modest support exists for thehypothesis that women are more concerned than men (Blocker and Eckberg
  3. 3. 316 D. CLAYTON SMITH1989, 1997; Borden and Schettino 1979; Cornwell 1988; Flynn, Slovic, andMertz 1994; Gifford, Hay, and Boros 1982; Hamilton 1985; Hausbeck, Milbrath,and Enright 1992; Lowe, Pinhey, and Grimes 1980; Lowe and Pinhey 1982;McStay and Dunlap 1983; Mitchell 1979; Ozanne, Humphrey, and Smith 1999;Schahn and Holzer 1990; Shapiro and Mahajan 1986; Steger and Witt 1988;Stern, Dietz, and Kalof 1993). However, the finding of no relationship betweengender and environmental attitudes is nearly as prevalent in the literature as thefhding of a gender difference. In the first review of the literature concerninggender differences in environmentalism,Van Liere and Dunlap (1980) tentativelyconclude gender is not associated with general environmental concern. Sincetheir initial review of the literature, several other studies have also shown no sig-nificant gender differences regarding environmental concern among Americanadults (Arcury and Christianson 1993; Austin and Woolever 1994; Blum 1987;Dunlap and Mertig 1997; Kanagy, Humphrey, and Firebaugh 1994; McCallum 1991; Mohai 1991; Scott and Willits 1993; Somma and Tolleson-Rinehart 1997;Stern, Dietz, and Guagnano 1995; Thompson and Gasteiger 1985). Moreover, in their attempts to understand the seemingly fickle relationshipbetween gender and environmentalism, environmental social scientists have ne-glected the study of the relationships between feminism and environmentalism.To date, only one published study has examined this link.3 In their study usingitems from the American National Election Study of 1992, Somma and Tolleson-Rinehart (1997) find that feminism, not sex, was the significant influence onAmerican environmental attitudes. While these results tentatively support the useof ecofeminism as a tool for movement mobilization, the small number of itemsmeasuring feminism and environmental concern and the low reliability (a = .49)of the environmentalism scale encourage further inquiries (Somma and Tolleson-Rinehart 1997, p. 164). To summarize, feminist scholars have striven to delineate the relationshipbetween gender, feminism, and the environment at a theoretical level; however,their work sheds little empirical light on whether individuals perceive a relation-ship between attitudes toward feminism and attitudes toward environmentalism.Over the same period environmental researchers have failed to find a consistentrelationship between gender and general environmentalism. Moreover, little re-search has been done to empirically examine interconnections between gender,environmentalism, and feminism. This is, in part, due to the fact that environ-mental social scientists have been preoccupied with the relationship betweengender and environmentalism. The researchers working within the gender differ-ences tradition have consistently failed to note that being female is not a suffi-cient condition for holding environmental, feminist, or ecofeminist valueorientations. Although women are probably more likely to have ecofeminist be-liefs and attitudes (i.e., more likely to link environmental and female domination)
  4. 4. ENVIRONMENTALISM, FEMINISM, AND GENDER 3 17because they are more likely to perceive sexual discrimination, social scientistsshould expect no one-to-one correspondence to exist between gender and envi- ronmentalism, just as no one-to-one correspondence exists between gender andfeminism (Smith 1993; S o m a and Tolleson-Rinehart 1997). Instead of focusing on the essentialist relationship between gender and environmental concern, envi- ronmental social scientists need to spend more time examining the interrelation- ships among environmentalism, feminism, and gender if they want to advance their understanding of the social bases of environment concern and explore the effectiveness of ecofeminism (Mellor 1997; Sturgeon 1997, p. 179). Methods Data for this exploratory study were collected via a self-administered ques-tionnaire. The survey was administered to a convenience sample consisting ofthree introductory social psychology classes, a social problems class, and oneclass on sex roles at a large state university. These sources provided 393 usableresponses with 254 respondents (64.6%) being female and 139 (35.9%) beingmale.4 Instead of attempting to create a new index to measure ecofeminism as anideology, the current exploratory research explored the interrelationships amonggender and existing measures of environmentalism and feminism. The survey in-strument included six indices of environmentalism and one index of attitudes to-ward feminism. Each of these indices were constructed through factor analysisby standardizing and summing the items relevant to each scale weighted by theirfactor score coefficients. As previously noted, scholars have developed many variants of ecofemi-nism. Scholars have often grouped these different variants of feminism and en-vironmentalism into four main paradigms (liberal, Marxist, culturalhadical, andsocialist), although some theorists question the continued usefulness of this cat-egorization (Jaggar and Rothenberg 1984; Merchant 1992; Ozanne andHumphrey 1994; Sturgeon 1997; Warren 1987). While each paradigm is a viableecofeminist perspective worthy of study, this study focuses on the liberal~aradigm.~ The liberal paradigm stems from liberal political theory, which takes anatomistic view of society and nature (Merchant 1992). Liberal theorists assumethat humans are rational agents pursuing their own interests under capitalism-the best form of government for such activity. While women and men do differbiologically, they do not differ in rationality, and any differences between thesexes are due to educational and economic inequalities created by the current pa-triarchal framework of American society. Likewise, liberal theorists hypothesizeenvironmental degradation is caused by existing societal arrangements. In theliberal paradigm the solution to both these problems lies in better education, law,
  5. 5. 3 18 D. CLAYTON SMITHand research. Such activity allows humans to monitor and manage environmen-tal pollution and degradation while also allowing women to “transcend the socialstigma of their biology and join men in the cultural project of environmentalconservation” (Merchant 1992, p. 189). Liberal feminists hypothesize that if theyeliminate these inequalities through education and legislation, gender differ-ences, especially those involving social mobility and power, will disappear(Warren 1987). The measures of liberal environmentalism included the New Environmental/Human Exemptionalist Paradigm (NEP/HEP) measures and three scales of en-vironmental concern (Dunlap and Van Liere 1978; Van Liere and Dunlap 1981).Previous research questioned whether the NEP/HEP scale was unidimensional(Albrecht, Bultena, Hoiberg, and Nowak 1982; Geller and Lasley 1985; Noeand Snow 1990; Smith 1991). In this study the NEP/HEP items were dividedinto three subdimensions suggested by previous factor analyses of the data(Albrecht et al. 1982; Smith 1992). These factors were labeled Limits toGrowth, Humanity and Nature, and Balance of Nature. On each of these di-mensions a high score indicated an agreement with that subdimension of theNEP/HEP. Three environmental concern scales originally developed by Van Liere andDunlap (1981) were also used as dependent variables. Van Liere and Dunlap’sanalysis led them to conclude that environmental concern in the United States re-ferred mainly to concern about pollution and natural resource depletion. VanLiere and Dunlap’s original Natural Resources scale was included along withmodified versions of the Pollution Control and Environmental Regulationsscales.6These three scales were recoded so that a high score on any of these en-vironmental concern scales suggests higher levels of environmental concern. To measure feminism a ten-item version of the FEM scale was used(Kirkpatrick 1936; Smith, Ferree, and Miller 1975).7This scale, one of the old-est in existence, was reworked in the 1970s and again in the 1990s (Basow andCampanile 1990; Branscombe and Deaux 1991; Dempewolff 1974; Singletonand Christiansen 1977). Researchers using the FEM scale perceived it as pri-marily tapping attitudes toward gendered roles and anti-feminine stereotypes(Fassinger 1994; Singleton and Christiansen 1977). The data were coded so thata high score on the FEM scale suggested a more feminist attitude toward genderroles. In the analysis gender was coded 0 for male and 1 for female. A positivecorrelation between gender and any of the environmental indices meant womenwere more environmentally concerned on that index, Finally, other independent variables suggested by previous literature werealso included as control variables. Self-reported political ideology was in-cluded to examine the possibility that the relationship between feminism and
  6. 6. ENVIRONMENTALISM, FEMINISM, AND GENDER 3 19environmentalism was in reality a relationship between political ideology andenvironmentalism (Butte1 and Flinn 1976; Somma and Tolleson-Rinehart1997; Van Liere and Dunlap 1980). In this study political ideology was mea-sured using one item with six response categories running from very conserv-ative (1) to very liberal (6). The number of days the respondent watchedtelevision news broadcasts in the preceding week was also included. This mea-sure of information access had previously shown promise in examinations ofgender differences in environmental concern (Arcury et al. 1987; Ostman andParker 1987). The variable was measured by a five-point scale running fromnone (0) to every day (4). Two obvious control variables omitted were age and education. According toBlaikie (1 992), age consistently displayed the strongest association with environ-mental concern. Indeed, in their study of environmental concern over the pasttwenty years, Kanagy et al. (1994) found that while period effects increased envi-ronmental concern among all birth cohorts during the 1980s, younger cohorts weremore environmentally concerned than their elders were. Due to the college studentsample on which this study relies, the variability of both age and education wasdeemed too small to provide useful information. A proxy of these variables, classstanding in school, was included in the models. Class standing was measured on asix-point scale running from nondegree student (1) to graduate student (6). To examine the relationship between environmentalism, feminism, and gen-der, factor score scales were created for the environmental and feminist indices.Next, a bivariate correlation matrix was calculated for all the variables in theanalysis. Then the relationships among gender, the FEM scale, and each of thesix environmental indices were modeled using multiple regression. After thesethree variable relationships were estimated, control variables were added to eachof the models. Finally, the sample was divided by gender, and the environmentalindices were regressed upon the FEM scale and the control variables to test forthe possibility that the observed relationships among gender, feminism, and en-vironmentalism are artifacts of political ideology. Results The list-wise correlations between gender, feminism, the environmental in-dices, and the other variables being modeled are presented in Table 1. As in pre-vious research, gender is not significantly correlated with any measure ofenvironmentalism used in this study. However, feminism, as measured by theFEM scale, is positively correlated with four of the six environmental indices.This finding is especially interesting given that gender and feminism are moder-ately positively correlated, indicating that women are more likely to be feminist.* Examination of the items comprising the environmental indices suggeststwo reasons the feminism measure relates to certain environmental measures and
  7. 7. Table 1 List-Wise Correlations of Dependent and IndependentVariables Limits to Humanity Balance of Natural Env. Growth andNature Nature Resources Pollution Regs Feminism Class Political Scale Scale Scale Scale Scale Scale Gender Scale Rank IdeologyHumanity and Nature Scale .30***Balance of Nature Scale .70*** .36***Natural Resources Scale .43*** .41*** SO***Pollution Scale .38*** .45*** .46*** .59***Env. Regs Scale .44*** .40*** .49*** ,62*** .70***Gender .05 .05 .oo .03 .OO -.04Feminism Scale .ll .26*** .09 .30*** .36*** .30*** .43***Class Rank -.14* .03 -.15** -.04 -.02 -.12* -.07 .ooPolitical Ideology .18** .23*** .17** .07 .17** .21*** .13* .22*** --.12*TV News Watching Per Week -.07 .02 -.12* .03 -.05 -.15** - . l o -.11 .20*** -.14**p < .05;**p < .01; *** p < .001; all tests of significance were two-tailed. N = 291.
  8. 8. ENVIRONMENTALISM, FEMINISM, AND GENDER 321not others. Ecofeminism’s emphasis on the dominance of patriarchy over womenand the environment is reflected in the correlation between the feminism mea-sure and the Humanity and Nature scale that consists of questions concerninghuman use of the environment. Neither the Limits to Growth nor the Balance ofNature scales focuses specifically on human use of the environment, which maypartially explain why those indices are not correlated with feminism. In addition, liberal ecofeminism argues that political action and governmentintervention are key to ending environmental degradation. Because most of theitems comprising the Natural Resources, Pollution, and EnvironmentalRegulations indices focus on political action and government intervention, un-derstanding why these environmental measures correlate with the FEM scale iseasy. Again, the Limits to Growth and the Balance of Nature indices involve nei-ther an action orientation nor a concern about human use of the environment,which helps explain their insignificant relationship to the feminism measure. Looking at the correlation matrix, few of the control variables suggested byprevious research are more than weakly correlated with some of the environ-mental indices. The exception is self-reported political ideology, which is posi-tively correlated with most forms of environmentalism examined and with thefeminism scale. In summary, the list-wise correlations show that gender is not directly re-lated to any environmental index, while attitudes toward feminism are signifi-cantly and directly related to environmentalism when government policy andhuman use of the environment are involved. However, the question remainsabout whether the relationship between the feminism and environmentalism in-dices is caused by underlying relationships with other variables, such as politicalideology. Beta coefficients and coefficients of determination for the relationship be-tween environmentalism, feminism, and gender are presented in Table 2.Looking across the environmental indices, the relationship between feminismand environmentalism did not significantly change when gender was controlled.When feminism was controlled, both main and interactional gender effects werediscovered on the environmental concern scales. In the main effects, men werestatistically more likely to be environmentally concerned than were women onthe Pollution and the Environmental Regulations indices. Significant interactioneffects (described in the footnotes to Table 2) between gender and feminism onthe Pollution and Environmental Regulations scales suggest that being both fe-male and feminist increases environmental concern regarding those environmen-tal measures to levels greater than or equal to male environmental concern. Why is gender significant only on these environmental scales and not onthe others when feminism is controlled? If men were more environmentallyconcerned than were women on all the environmental indices controlling for
  9. 9. Table 2 Betas and Coefficients of Determination for NEP/HEP Dimensions and Environmental Concern Scales Regressed on Gender and the Feminism Index" Limits Humanity Balance to and of Natural Growth Nature Nature Resources Pollution Env. Regs Scale Scale Scale Scale Scaleb Scale"Gender p .05 - .04 - .03 -.lo -.19*** -.17**FEM Scale p .11* .28*** .ll .35*** .45*** .33***R2 .02 0.7 0.1 .10 .17 .09F 3.70* 14.21*** 1.80** 20.66*** 37.18*** 16.53***N 3 72 372 372 377 377 327*p < .05; **p < .01; ***p < .001."Additional regression models tested for an interaction between gender and feminism. Significant interaction terms for the Pollution and Environmental Regulations scales are discussed in subsequent footnotes. addition to the main effects, a significant interaction of .27 (p < .05) between the FEM scale and Gender was discovered, indicating feminism has a greater effect for women with regard to the Pollution scale."In addition to the main effects, significant interaction of .37 (p < .01) between the FEM scale and Gender was discovered, indicating fem- inism has a greater effect for women with regard to the Environmental Regulations scale.
  10. 10. ENVIRONMENTALISM, FEMINISM, AND GENDER 323feminism, one could argue that such a relationship was the effect of the zero-order correlation between gender and feminism. Because being female is corre-lated with holding liberal feminist attitudes and being a liberal feminist iscorrelated with almost every environmental measure, controlling for liberal fem-inism would constrain the relationship between women and the environment andmake men appear more environmentally concerned. Because men are not moreenvironmentally concerned on all the environmental indices once feminism iscontrolled, gender must be related to specific environmental concerns rather thanenvironmentalism overall. As mentioned earlier, one possibility is that the environmental concernscales focus on direct political action and government regulation, while theNEP/HEP dimensions focus on more general environmental beliefs. Therefore,the results obtained in Table 2 display a suppression effect. Women have beenfound less likely to favor direct political action (Mohai 1991; Shapiro andMahajan 1986; Welch 1977; Welch and Secret 1981).9However, women are alsomore likely to hold liberal feminist attitudes, and liberal feminists favor politicalaction and government intervention, canceling the direct effect (Shapiro andMahajan 1986). The hypothesized connection between women and feminism onenvironmentalism is also supported by the significant interaction terms presentfor both the Pollution scale and the Environmental Regulations scale. In bothcases a woman with a liberal feminist viewpoint is more likely to score higheron these environmental scales than either a woman or a liberal feminist wouldseparately. When control variables are added to the models, the observed relationshipspersist (see Table 3). Feminism remains positively related to environmentalismeven when gender, class rank, political ideology, and amount of TV newswatched are controlled. In fact, feminism is the best predictor of environmental-ism in all of the regression models in which it is significant. The gender effectsalso continue to be present for the environmental concern scales when feminismand the other variables are controlled. It is mildly surprising that the inclusion of political ideology did not affectthe relationship between feminism and environmentalism. Feminism and envi-ronmentalism are often considered as subsets of liberal political orientation, andreferring to Table 1, these items are significantly correlated (Somma andTolleson-Rinehart 1997). However, controlling for the other variables, feminismand self-reported political ideology maintain significant independent effects on environmentalism, demonstrating that while feminism and political ideology are similar in their influence on environmental attitudes and are correlated with one another, neither variable is entirely inclusive of the other. In a further test to examine for the possibility of three-way interactions among gender, feminism, and political ideology, the respondents were divided by
  11. 11. Table 3 Betas and Coefficients of Determination for NEP/HEP Dimensions and Environmental Concern Scales Regressed on Gender and the FEM Scale with Control Variables" Limits Humanity Balance to and of Natural Growth Nature Nature Resources Pollution Env. Regs Scale Scale Scale Scale Scaleb Scale"Gender p .04 -.05 -.04 -.11* -.21*** - .20**FEM Scale p .ll .28*** .11 .37*** .44*** .35***Class Rank f3 -.11 .00 -.13* -.lo - .05 -.11*Political Ideology p .12* .17** .11* - .02 .12* .13*TV News p - .03 .06 - .06 .04 .01 -.I0R2 .06 .12 .06 .12 .19 .16F 4.01** 9.20*** 4.23*** 8.93*** 16.55*** 11.58***N 345 345 345 350 35 1 308*P < .05; **p < -01; ***p < .001."Additional regression models tested for an interaction between gender and feminism. Significant interaction terms for the Pollution and Environmental Regulations scales are discussed in subsequent footnotes. addition to the main effects, a significant interaction of .28 (p < .Ol) between the FEM scale and Gender was discovered indicating fem- inism has a greater effect for women with regard to the Pollution scale."In addition to the main effects, a significant interaction of .35 (p < .01) between the FEM scale and Gender was discovered indicating fem- inism has a greater effect for women with regard to the Environmental Regulations scale.
  12. 12. ENVIRONMENTALISM, FEMINISM, AND GENDER 325gender, and the environmental indices were regressed upon the feminism scaleand the control variables. The results of this analysis, presented in Table 4, showthat controlling for the other variables in the model, women’s attitudes towardfeminism continue to mirror the pattern of feminism found in the previous ta-bles, while men’s attitudes toward feminism are significantly related only to theHumanity and Nature dimension of the NEP/HEP, the Natural Resources scale,and the Pollution scale. Table 4 reminds us of Blaikie’s (1992) observation that ecological worldviews contain a complex set of views and dimensions. Again, it appears that therelationship between feminism and political action is at the heart of the relation- ‘ship between feminism and the environmental concern scales for both men andwomen in this sample. However, the relationship of the Humanity and Nature di-mension of the NEP/HEP and feminism cannot be explained by support for gov-ernment intervention. Instead, as previously mentioned, the Humanity andNature scale focuses on attitudes toward human use of the environment, which isof main concern to ecofeminists. The items on the Humanity and Nature index argue against human masteryof nature while the other NEP/HEP scales are concerned with beliefs of ecolog-ical balance and limits to growth. The data suggest that individuals who do notbelieve in human mastery over nature are more likely to have challenged thedominant world view. If an individual is socialized to hold a set of beliefs, atti-tudes, and/or values that challenge a particular facet of the traditional world view(here, attitudes toward society’s use of the environment), the individual is morelikely to be receptive to other challenges to the traditional world view as well(for instance, attitudes toward women’s roles in society), especially when bothsets of beliefs are themselves embedded in a larger, more complex ecofeministworld view. Conversely, males socialized to prefer feminist ideals also would bemore likely to accept a discourse concerning domination of the environment. Additional support for the relationship between gender, feminism, and po-litical action is demonstrated by the significant interaction effects for thePollution scale and the Environmental Regulations scale. By creating separatemodels for men and women a significant interaction effect between feminism and political ideology is found, but only for women. The separate models also add credence to the earlier discussion of feminism as a politicizing force for women. Finally, in looking at the beta coefficients one notices that the strongest predictor of environmentalism is not the same for men and women. For men self-reported political ideology is usually the most important predictor of envi- ronmentalism. For women feminism is always the most important predictor while self-reported political ideology is rarely a significant predictor of environ- mentalism.
  13. 13. Table 4 Betas and Coefficients of Determination for NEP/HEP Dimensions and Environmental Concern Scales Split by Sex and Regressed on Gender and the FEM Scale with Control Variables" Limits Humanity Balance to and of Natural Growth Nature Nature Resources Pollution Env. Regs Scale Scale Scale Scale Scale Scale Male Female Male Female Male Female Male Female Male Femaleb Male Female"FEM Scale p .01 -.15* .29*** .24*** .13 .10 .23** .40*** .21* .49*** .08 .42***Class Rank p .OO -.16* .1 I -.07 -.13 -.16* .01 -.17** .01 -.08 .03 -.17**Political Ideology p .I3 .10 .29*** .10 .23* .03 .13 -.14* .22* .06 .23* .05TV News p -.03 -.04 -.04 .09 -.04 -.09 .I0 - .02 .02 -.02 -.lo -.13*R2 .02 .08 .2 1 .09 .09 .05 .09 .17 .ll .26 .08 .24F .53 4.54** 7.96*** 5.24*** 3.03* 3.03* 2.92* 11.17*** 3.67** 19.59*** 2.22 15.20***N 123 222 123 223 123 223 124 226 125 226 112 197*p < .05; **p < .01; ***p < ,001."Additional regression models tested for an interaction between political ideology and feminism. Significant interaction terms for women on the Pollution and the Environmental Regulations scales are discussed in subsequent footnotes. p addition to the main effects, a significant interaction of .17 ( < ,001) between the FEM scale and Political Ideology was discovered, indicating that fem- ih inism has a greater effect for liberals and vice versa wt regard to women on the Pollution scale. pIn addition to the main effects, a significant interaction of .08 ( < .05) between the FEM scale and Political Ideology was discovered, indicating that fem- inism has a greater effect for liberals and vice versa with regard to women on the Environmental Regulations scale.
  14. 14. ENVIRONMENTALISM, FEMINISM, AND GENDER 327 Conclusion This research examined the relationship between attitudes toward the envi-ronment, attitudes toward women, and gender. The findings of this exploratorycollege student survey, a significant positive relationship between feminism andenvironmentalism and a relationship between gender and politically active envi-ronmentalism mediated by feminism, highlight the complexity of the relation-ships between gender, feminism, and environmentalism. Moreover, thesefindings have implications for the future of ecofeminist activism and for envi-ronmental social scientists working on gender differences. First, as discussed earlier, feminist scholars hypothesize a relationship be-tween feminism and environmentalism; however, there has been little in the wayof empirical evidence to support their theories. While the current research is ex-ploratory, the findings of the current study are consistent with those of S o m aand Tolleson-Rinhart’s (1997) work. These two studies, taken together, supportthe view that individuals make a connection between feminism and environmen-talism. To a certain extent, this finding supports the hypothesis that ecofeminismmay aid in social movement mobilization; however, further research is required.Still, given the finding that liberal environmentalism is related to liberal femi-nism and to gender through liberal feminism, the use of liberal ecofeminist ide-ology as a mobilization tool tentatively appears not to harm feminist andenvironmental causes. As for environmental social scientists, they have seldom studied the con-nection of feminism to environmentalism, preferring to focus instead on the re-lationship between gender and environmentalism. This oversight appears toparallel ongoing debates with social movements research between grievance andresource mobilization theorists. Ecofeminist ideology is inherently based ongrievance (i.e., concern). While environmental sociology must consider somegrievances, environmental research has been drawn toward a resource mobiliza-tion perspective that favors using demographic and structural factors to explainattitudes and behaviors. This emphasis is perhaps rooted in the relative difficultyof collecting reliable, valid, and theoretically interesting attitudinal measurescompared with the relative ease of demographic data that are, for the most part,assumed to be reliable, valid, and interesting. It is hoped that the present findingswill move environmental research away from demographic studies of environ-mentalism and toward more complex sociological approaches. While the present research has detailed interesting findings concerning en-vironmentalism, feminism, and gender, it should be noted that these results arepreliminary. The convenience sample of college students surveyed by this study,while useful in establishing a tentative relationship, is not representative of anypopulation other than itself. In addition, only the liberal environmental and
  15. 15. 328 D. CLAYTON SMITHliberal feminist paradigms have been measured in this study; little is knownabout other variants of environmentalism and feminism because no measures ofthese paradigms exist. Future research should attempt to verify the proposed re-lationships between other variants of environmentalism and feminism using amore representative sample. Also, the relationship among variants of environ-mentalism and feminism and other facets of social equity (e.g., race and class)that challenge the traditional dominant world views should be examined. Futurescholarship in this area must begin to consider these relationships if this researchstream is to progress. APPENDIX Environmental IndicesLimits to Growth Scale (a = 30) We are approaching the limit of the number of people the earth can support. 0 The earth is like a spaceship with only limited room and resources. 0 There are limits to growth beyond which our industrialized society cannot expand. To maintain a healthy economy, we have to develop a “steady state” economy where industrial growth is controlled.Humanity and Nature Scale (a = .79) Mankind was created to rule over the rest of nature. (Reverse-coded) Humans have the right to modify the natural environment to suit their needs. (Reverse-coded) 0 Plants and animals exist primarily to be used by humans. (Reverse-coded) Humans need not adapt to the natural environment because they can make it to suit their needs. (Reverse-coded)Balance of Nature Scale ( a = .?4) The balance of nature is very delicate and easily upset. When humans interfere with nature, there are often disastrous consequences. Humans must live in harmony in nature in order to survive. 0 Mankind is severely abusing the environment.Natural Resources Scale (a = .70) Government must take stronger steps to conserve our nation’s resources. 0 There has been too much emphasis on conserving natural resources and not enough on utilizing them in recent years. (Reverse-coded) Where natural resources are privately owned, society should have no control over what the owner does with them. (Reverse-coded) 0 Natural resources must be preserved for the future, even if people must do without. 0 We must take stronger measures to conserve our nation’s resources.Pollution Scale (a = .75) 0 Pollution laws have gotten too strict in recent years. (Reverse-coded) 0 We should think of jobs first and pollution second. (Reverse-coded) 0 Anti-pollution laws should be enforced more strongly. 0 If an industry cannot control its pollution, it should be shut down. 0 Pollution control measures have created unfair burdens on industry. (Reverse-coded)
  16. 16. ENVIRONMENTALISM, FEMINISM, AND GENDER 329Environmental Regulations Scale (a= .85)Unlike the rest of the indices included on the questionnaire, the following items were measured on asix-category Likert format, from strongly favor to strongly oppose with no neutral category. The pol-icy items employed were: 0 Banning nonreturnable containers 0 Restricting heavy industry in the state Stiff h e s for littering 0 Restricting production of large cars 0 Setting aside land as wilderness areas 0 Higher taxes on gasoline 0 Heavy penalties for industrial pollution Regulations on land use 0 Establishing more recycling centers 0 Prohibiting billboards on highways Regulation of water useRevised FEM Scale (a = 34) 0 Women have the right to participate along with men in every sphere of activity. 0 As head of the household, the father should have final authority over his children. (Reverse- coded) 0 Men and women should be paid the same for the same work regardless of whether or not they have a family to support. It is absurd to regard obedience as a wifely virtue. 0 When women are appointed to police forces, they should be given the same duties as men. 0 It is all right for women to work, but men should be the basic breadwinners. (Reverse-coded) 0 A woman should not expect to go the same places or have the same freedom of action as a man. (Reverse-coded) 0 Parental responsibility for the discipline of children should be divided equally between husband and wife. 0 Men should contribute to housework, but it is primarily a woman’s responsibility. (Reverse- coded) Women are not capable of holding political offices that involve great responsibility. (Reverse- coded) ENDNOTES ‘For example, one Citizen’s Clearinghouse for Hazardous Wastes publication on women andtoxics organizing refers to the female leaders discussed as “women activists in the environmentaljus-tice movement” instead of ecofeminists,although a major theme of the publication was ways of deal-ing with the “constant put-downs f o men-whether they were friends or foes.” (Gibbs 1989, p. 38; rmZeff, Love, and Stults 1989, p. 1). ’While it is the case that there is no consistent sex difference in general environmentalconcern,it should be noted that a recent meta-analysis suggests that women are more environmentally con-cerned than men where health and safety issues are involved (Davidson and Freudenburg 1996). 3The survey research reported in this paper was collected in 1991. At that time no data set ex-isted that examined gender, feminism, and environmentalism. In the year after this study was
  17. 17. 330 D. CLAYTON SMITHcompleted, the American National Election Study (ANES) of 1992 included items that could be usedto measure gender, environmentalism,and feminism. Unbeknownst to each other, both Somma andTolleson-Rinehart and the author first presented their results in 1993; Somma and Tolleson-Rinehartwere able to publish their results of their study using ANES data first. 41t is recognized that a sample of this type is not representative of the population as a whole orof the domain of university students specifically. However, given the exploratory nature of this paper,the sampling from classes in which students are likely to have heterogeneous goals and backgrounds,such as introductory sociology courses, is one way to obtain diverse student opinions for testing thecentral hypothesis that a relationship exists between feminism and environmentalism. To determineif certain classes, such as the sex roles class, were significantly different from the rest of the sample,class means were examined. While the sex roles class did have the highest mean score on the FEMscale, analysis demonstrated that the sex roles class mean was not significantly different from theoverall mean. 5 . It is certain that a review of the ecofeministliteraturewould show that liberal ecofeminism is nei-ther the most widely discussed variant of ecofeminism nor the most interesting world view to ecofemi-nist scholars. The liberal paradigm is used because all existing attitude scales used to examineenvironmentalism and feminism are measures of the liberal world view. Few, if any, feministsand ecofeminists have attempted to examine Marxist, cultural/radical, and/or socialist feminism orenvironmentalism quantitatively. An examination of the UnCoverWeb database (available athttp://uncweb.carl.org/) the SocioAbs database (available through Firstsearch) failed to identify andany quantitative study of Marxist, radical, cultural, or socialist feminism. Up to the publication of thisarticle, the researcherknows of only one study that quantitatively examineddifferenttypes of feminism,but only in the context of validating a feminism scale (Poff and Michalos 1988). As for environmental-ism, Kowalewski (1996) quantitativelyexaminesdeep ecology,which may fall under the heading of rad-ical environmentalism, in his recent study on the effects of social structure on environmental attitudes. 6Previous factor and reliability analyses of Van Liere and Dunlap’s Environmental Concernscales led to the removal of one double-barreled item from the Pollution Control scale and one itemfrom the Environmental Regulations scale (Smith 1991). For more information about the items in-cluded on the indices of environmentalism and feminism, please refer to the appendix to this article. ’To remove dated and gender-biased language, the FEM scale was revised from twenty itemsdown to ten. The author wishes to thank Vincent C. Fem for his work on this revision. WithoutVincent’s previous work revising question wording and order on the scale, this research would nothave been possible. ‘If the FEM scale were trichotomized into three equal parts (nonliberal feminist, middleground, and liberal feminist), 46.8% of the women would fall into the liberal feminist category com-pared to just 8.7% of the men. ’Additional empirical evidence can be found in Steger and Win’s (1988) study of Canadian andAmerican environmental concern among members of the general public and environmental activists.This study found only 21% of Canadian and 28% of American environmental activists sampled werefemale. REFERENCESAlbrecht, Don, Gordon Bultena, Eric Hoiberg, and Peter Now&. 1982. “The New Environmental Paradigm Scale.” Journal o Environmental Education 13:3943. fAlldred, Pam, and Sarah Dennison. 2000. “Eco-activism and Feminism: Do Eco-warriors and Goddesses Need It?” Feminist Review 64: 12&27.
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