Norgaard and York explain that due to the interconnectedness of the domination of women and the domination of the environment by the patriarchy, “nation-states with greater gender equality on the whole are expected to take environmentally progressive stands due to the influence of gender on all state processes” (Norgaard and York 508). They analyze the percentages of women in state’s parliaments and the percentage with which these states ratified environmental treaties. You can see their chart below.
Norway, who ranks fourth under gender equality and seventh under state environmentalism, shows a strong correlation between the two.
On the other hand, we look at Singapore, ranking 106th and 103rd respectively. Singapore has a high level of industrialization and a high standard of living much like Norway, but women hold only 4.3% of legislatorial positions in their parliament. Showing the correlation between the two, Singapore only ratified four of the thirteen treaties that Norgaard and York examined.
Going beyond treaty ratification, Singapore’s emissions of carbon dioxide in 1999 were three times the world average. Women in parliament in Singapore have little ability to pursue their own agendas, making it difficult for them to push forward environmental legislation.
Throughout the world, women lead the pack when it comes to environmentalism. One such woman, Christine Figueres, is the head of the UNFCCC. Figueres focuses on the possibility of what the world can be rather on the destruction the world is headed towards. She takes a unique position on climate change this way. Going off of Norgaard adn York’s ideas that women in power support environmental change, Figueres focuses on building gender equality. Figueres believes that “when there are more women in boardrooms and and in high-level positions in institutions, you get decisions that are wiser and longer-term” (Figueres, Carrington).
Dr Hilda Heine, the president of the Marshall Islands, is the first female president of an independent Pacific Island nation. She focuses her presidency on environmental issues as rising sea levels are an active threat to life on her set of islands. She most recently championed the European Union to convince the president of the United States of the dangers of climate change.
These are just two women that are working in different areas of the world governance in order to lead the fight against climate change. These women, like many women before them, see the importance in environmentalism. Heine and Figueres are reminders to younger generations of women that our voices can be heard if we put in the work.
Without women such as these, environmental movements would have not nearly enough friction to cause any major changes as it is just as Norgaard and York proved, there is a link between women in power and a country’s focus on environmentalism.