Gender and Environmental Values: An Interdisciplinary Analysis

By:
Dr. Doreen L. Smith
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This paper reports on selected results of a province-wide survey, the Ecosystem and Forest Values Survey, which was structured to provide data on demographic backgrounds, three levels of values (general, environmental and forests and attitudes on forest management options.

This paper is comprised of four main sections: a theoretical framework and review of relevant literature, a description of the three value scales and one attitudinal scale employed in this research, a presentation and discussion of findings from the three value scales and one attitudinal scale with a focus on identifying gender differences, and a concluding sections which suggests dirctions for interdisciplinary anaylis and future research and draws implications for action on the part of policy makers and resource managers.

Following a brief introduction, Section I outlines our understanding of values and related concepts such as attitudes, and attempts to articulate how we envision their operation in human affairs, especially decision making. A brief review of relevant literature on the linkages between gender, values and environmentalism will be included in this section. Most specifically, this section will contain a discussion of the use of an interdisciplinary analysis emanating from Sociology, Women's Studies and Environmental Studies and its potential function as a framework for understanding the evolution of environmental values and ethical norms in society. Section II of the paper describes the background and development of the three value scales (Global, Environmental, and Forest) and one attitudinal scale (Forest Management) used in this study. Section III presents the findings from an analysis of the values of a sample (n=710) of people from the province of Manitoba, Canada. The analysis will focus on the identification and categorization of the differences and similarities of global environmental and forest values by gender of the respondents.

Past research suggests that women tend to hold stronger biocentric and environmentally sensitive orientations and men more human-centred or economic orientations on general ecosystem issues and forest ecosystem management issues. We will attempt to see if such polarities of opinion between males and females characterize the Manitoba population.

The final section of the paper draws implications from the findings and suggests directions for future research and practices, especially with respect to taking gender differences in public values into account in planning and decision making.


Keywords: Gender, Environmental Values, Ecosystem Based Management, Interdisciplinary Analysis
Stream: Sociology and Geography, Natural, Environmental and Health Sciences, Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Gender
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Dr. Doreen L. Smith

Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Winnipeg
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Dr. Smith teaches and does research in the areas of socialization and development through the life course , sociology of youth, sociology of aging and occupational and organizational sociology. Her most recent research project is focussed on older adults definitions and expectations with respect to spiritual care in a long term care setting. She has published articles and reports and done several presentations on financial abuse of older persons, the structure and functioning of the Manitoba Model Forest and, most recently, on the benefits of taking into account environmental values and attitudes in decision making, policy and planning with respect to ecosystem based management. She has served in several administrative positions at the University of Winnipeg, most recently as Acting Chair of the Sociology Department. She is currently Chair of the Board of Rupert's Land Caregiver Services and is a Board Member of several other community organizations.

Ref: I06P0191