Graduation Year

2006

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Women's Studies

Major Professor

Marilyn Myerson, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Ellen Daley, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Gurleen Grewal, Ph.D.

Keywords

EDCs, environmental toxins, reproductive health, ecofeminism, postmodern feminism

Abstract

Industrialization and "development" during the last 200 years have led to an increase of pesticides, an intensified use of synthetic chemicals, higher levels of environmental pollution, and more exposure to hazardous working conditions. Environmental toxins, many of which are endocrine disruptors, are stored in fat tissue, increasing reproductive health risks for both women and men. Women’s bodies are particularly vulnerable as sites for creating, growing, feeding, and nurturing the next generation. And yet, women’s lives are consistently devalued, especially in a capitalist economy, so that a woman’s rights to her own reproductive health are no longer guaranteed.

In this thesis I first review ecological destruction, environmental policies, and food safety/security issues for women. I then examine neoliberal globalization as an active participant in the destruction of the environment and an attack on global health. I discuss how utilizing feminist theory effectively, and actively, will ensure women the right to their health. I employ postmodern feminist and refigured ecofeminist theory to demonstrate how a feminist perspective is necessary in the development of policies that address the problem of endocrine disruptors in terms of women’s reproductive health and the health of future generations. Finally, I suggest that the precautionary principle must include a feminist perspective to fully succeed.

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