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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

MA in Women's History


Women’s History Graduate Program


Histories of environmental movements often overlook ecological activism taking place at the grassroots, particularly projects initiated and led by women. This work is less visible because it often occurs outside of formal political structures and is rarely focused on ecological concerns solely. Women-led movements tend to simultaneously address the complex and interrelated social, political, economic, and cultural causes of natural resource degradation, and in doing so they can offer valuable insight into solutions to a growing environmental and human crisis. The activism of Wangari Maathai and the Green Belt Movement in Kenya and the Dominican sisters and An Tairseach in Ireland illustrates how diverse ecological projects led by women benefit their communities and can have far-reaching implications. By facilitating change at the local level and insisting that environmental and human concerns are inextricably linked, both projects have transcended cultural, political, and geographic boundaries. As a result, both have raised environmental awareness and offer a replicable framework that presents an alternative to current economic ideology.