Emerging Discourses of Gender and Women in the National Park Service: An Ecofeminist Analysis of Ranger Newsletter from 1979 to 1999

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Sapp, Emily
gender; women; ecofeminism; National Park Service; environment; gender equality; discrimination; content analysis; Environmental Studies; Women's Studies
article description
The key focus of this research is based in ecofeminism, the worldview that the oppression of women is connected to the oppression of nature. This research studies the National Park Service, through the Association of National Park Ranger’s newsletter/magazine Ranger. The study attempts to answer the questions how do issues about gender equality emerge throughout the history of the National Park Service, as looking through the newsletter Ranger? How do ideas of femininity and masculinity emerge and are represented in Ranger throughout time? The study is significant in that it is representative of the NPS, and by revealing emerging ideas of women and comparing ideas of femininity and masculinity, this could break down stereotypes and norms of women and nature and persuade women to break down these gender norms, visit nature and/or get a profession in nature, such as in the NPS. The study used a content analysis as well as historical discourse when looking at Ranger. Informing the study is research done by Polly Kaufman in National Parks and the Woman's Voice: A History and Kathleen Denny in “Gender in Context, Content, and Approach: Comparing Gender Messages in Girl Scout and Boy Scout Handbooks.” The research suggests that as gender equality movements progress in the ‘80s, the Ranger newsletter moves along with this. Even though the magazine strives to numerically represent women more as both rangers and writers (especially in the ‘90s), it is still apparent that there are issues in the NPS under the surface.