Date of Thesis

Spring 2018

Thesis Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Type

Bachelor of Arts

Major

Environmental Studies

Second Major

Political Science

First Advisor

Ben Marsh

Second Advisor

Emma Gaalaas Mullaney

Third Advisor

Ron Smith

Keywords

environmental organizations, gender, Old Boys Club, Old Boys Network, gender dynamics

Abstract

This study interrogates the exclusionary culture of environmentalism with respect to gender, and in doing so, illuminates elements of function and dysfunction with respect to gender dynamics in environmental organizations. I utilize social science-based quantitative and qualitative methods as a foundation for my analysis. My research investigates the role of gender both at the micro level, with individuals, and the macro level, by evaluating the persistence of the “Old Boys’ Club” culture in environmental organizations. Thirteen people participated in interviews, and forty people responded to an online survey. Personal reflections gathered from the survey reveal gendered trends in environmental problem perception, attitudes, behaviors, values and engagement, while professional reflections collected during interviews provide insight into the operations of gender in an organizational context. In some ways, current gender dynamics in environmental organizations signify a departure from the “Old Boys’ Club” culture, as indicated by female leadership of environmental organizations and a burgeoning interest amongst females in environmental work. However, a deeper analysis reveals the residual effects of the masculine-privileging “Old Boys’ Club” culture, as women express sentiments of feeling dismissed as professionals, and report working harder than their male counterparts to achieve the same level of respect. I explicate the importance of considering gender in matters of organizational structure, management and participation through this perspective of analysis.

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