Nurturing Identity and the "Role of Mother" within Professional and Grassroots Australian Environmental Advocacy

By Yulia Maleta.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published Online: November 17, 2015 $US5.00

In this paper, a nurturing identity and the “role of mother” are evidenced within professional and grassroots contexts of Australian environmental advocacy. I articulate a maternal identity in relation to a nurturing ethos of care adopted by Australian mothers in their activism. In relation to supporting ecofeminist theory (Merchant 1996; Leahy 2003; MacGregor 2006a), my contention is that a maternal ethos is informed by ideals of compassion, dedication, and responsibility. This is evidenced by participants’ desire to care for their children, other people, and the planet. Also, this paper articulates the way participants’ negotiate emphasized and resistant forms of femininity. Emphasized femininity is shown by participants’ identification with “a mother earth angle,” and resistant femininity is shown by mothers’ willingness to challenge patriarchal organizations and ruling political elites. From my interviews with nine participants, mothers who are also activists, a qualitative analysis illustrates thematic insights to maternal ecofeminism and a greens consciousness in organizational and everyday life contexts. My core themes are a nurturing care ethic, as evident in “a mother earth angle;” leadership styles; political savviness; environmental competency; agentic forms of active and passive resistance; and, barriers and enablers within activism.

Keywords: Ecofeminism, Activism, Care, Political, Elite

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies, Volume 10, Issue 4, December 2015, pp.1-13. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published Online: November 17, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 511.432KB)).

Dr. Yulia Maleta

Academic, School of Social Sciences and Psychology, University of Western Sydney, Sydney, Australia

Doctor Yulia Maleta completed her Ph.D. in the School of Social Sciences and Psychology at the University of Western Sydney. She is affiliated with the University of Western Sydney.