Feminism and Environmentalism: Perspectives on Gender in the British Columbia Environmental Movement during the 1990s
Keywords: gender, feminism, environment, logging
AbstractEcofeminist theory posits a link between hegemonic masculinity, gendered patterns of inequality and environmental degradation. This paper examines how environmental movement participants in British Columbia take up these notions. The analysis is based on qualitative interviews with thirty-four core members of the environmental movement, as well as sixty-two rank and file members. Almost all of the interview participants articulate a broadly feminist discourse of women’s equality. However, there is a division between those who identify as feminists and others who reject this label. Within the interviews, ecomaternalist themes form a dominant discourse. Women’s environmentalism is linked to emotionality, care giving and other ‘female’ traits. Related to this, hegemonic forms of masculinity are invoked to describe men’s lack of concern for the environment. The paper concludes by relating these findings to recent work that problematizes ecomaternalist versions of ecofeminism.