Date of Graduation

12-2021

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Political Science (MA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Political Science

Advisor

Janine Parry

Committee Member

Andrew Dowdle

Second Committee Member

Shirin Saeidi

Keywords

Climate change, Environmentalism, Environmental risk perception, Environmentalism, Feminism, Feminist feeling thermometer, Gender, Public opinion, Risk perception, Sex, White Male Effect

Abstract

This study analyzes the intersection of sex, environmental risk perception of climate change, and feminism. More specifically, with a sample size of 8,280 respondents from the American National Election Studies (ANES) 2020 Times Series Study, this research examines the relationship between pro-environmental attitudes and sympathy for feminism, controlling for sex, as well as if a measure of sympathy for feminism influences pro-environmental attitudes, controlling for demographic (age, education, race, sex, and income) and political preference (political ideology and party affiliation) variables. Previous literature strongly supports a sex gap in risk perception, a pattern known as the White Male Effect (WME) (Flynn, Slovic, and Mertz 1994). I extend the existing literature by expressly testing whether the relationship between pro- environmental attitudes and sympathy for feminism is strongest for women (H1), and whether a measure of sympathy for feminism positively influences pro-environmental attitudes (H2). The results substantiate both hypotheses with evidence that supports a biological sex gap in environmental attitudes (and support for feminism), in addition to an independent effect for feminism on pro-environmental attitudes. These findings demonstrate the complexity of American’s gendered attitudes toward climate change: the differences appear to stem from both biological and cultural differences.

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