Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Women's Studies

Major Professor

Ingrid Bartsch, Chair

Committee Member

Cheryl Rodriguez

Committee Member

Renu Khator


Ecofeminism, Agriculture, Forestry, Water Resources


Issues related to women, environment and development constitute a major global concern today. Women's roles as agents of change in the environment has increasingly become the focus of both research and policy concerns. Environmental resource management is directly linked to development, and this makes it crucial to examine the activities of women more closely. Women's role in the management of natural resources assumes a multidimensional nature. Unfortunately, the central and crucial role that women play is often both overlooked and unappreciated, rendering them invisible and greatly diminishing their contribution as both producers and active agents in sustainable development. One of the arguments central to this thesis is that rural women's connections to the physical world can inform feminist theory as well as broader policy frameworks. Their knowledge and experiences can and should be fundamental in devising programs for sustainable development. Case studies are central to this thesis because they provide specific situations and issues and lend a concrete material reality to the topics under discussion. They point to the multidimensional and multifunctional nature of women's roles in natural resource management in addition to highlighting the diverse constraints that women face. Case studies help identify strategies that could be applied to facilitate sustainable development efforts by presenting us with tangible situations rather than dealing with the abstract. Clearly, this thesis has not covered the entire scope of issues that need to be addressed in the women, environment and development debate. Nor are the suggested strategies for enhancing women's role as environmental resource managers exhaustive. Nonetheless, it is my hope that this thesis serves as a beginning for what constitute some of the key issues when engaging with the women, environment and development debate.