Female Underrepresentation in Adirondack-Based Conservation Movements

Emma Sprotbery, Union College - Schenectady, NY


My thesis examines the involvement of women in conservation movements throughout the Adirondacks region from the early 1900s to now. There is a dearth of literature detailing the comparable rates of female membership and leadership positions within these movements. Despite national and international environmental organizations prioritizing gender diversity during the 1960s and 1970s, many Adirondack-based conservation organizations were male-dominated through the 1980s. Women faced myriad obstacles to upward mobility within these organizations, such as the lack of financial compensation and land-owning eligibility requirements for management. In order to address the gender gap still plaguing organizations in the Adirondacks and throughout the world, it is imperative to develop a better understanding of the culture and mechanisms that permitted the under-representation of women for such an extended period of time.