Role of Women in Environment Conservation
Started in the 1960s, the worldwide environmental movements have drawn the attention of many scholars and studies have then been conducted based on varied academic standpoints. However, seldom are there adequate recognition of women’s contribution to the conserving of the Australian environment. This may serve as the inspirations for the author to carry out a qualitative research on South Australian women’s involvement in the green NGOs and to acknowledge their persistent efforts accomplished in the movement. To portray a realistic picture of Australian women’s participation in the environmental movement, this paper has chosen to explore the reasons or the driving forces for South Australian women’s involvement in the green non-governmental organizations, in an attempt to discover their perceptions of the woman-nature relationship, of the current environmental problems and women’s empowerment in the environmental movement. To look into the subtleness of women’s emotion and thoughts, this paper employs the ecofeminist perspective/perspectives which draw upon the oppression and objectification of both women and nature. Supported with the triangulation of three qualitative research methods, namely documentary review, case studies and interviews, this paper highlights. The importance of women’s naming of their own experiences as environmentalists and succeeds in obtaining first-hand data of their engagement in the movement. Set in a non-governmental organizational background, women interviewees in this research have been and are still working with the selected green NGOs based in South Australia. With these “third-sector” performers, women have been provided with access to influence, to contribute or even to shine in the fight against natural degradation and preserving of a livable planet. Through a close scrutiny of the interviews, the research finds out that the ten female interviewees identify at a high level with the three groups of ecofeminist thinking—liberal ecofeminism, socialist ecofeminism and cultural ecofeminism. All women express their serious concerns about environmental problems, and all have particularly confirmed the woman-nature relationship. Their witness an ecofeminist demonstration of perceptions of the cause of environmental problems, care ethics, critique of power and women’s rising to lead positions in environmental groups.
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