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The female influence on environmental goal setting

Doornbos, J. (2020) The female influence on environmental goal setting.

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Abstract:Objective: This thesis aims to investigate the female influence on environmental goal setting. It does so, in exploring the relationship between the political participation of women in local council coalitions in the Netherlands and the level of goal setting in local council coalition agreements in the legislative period of 2018-2022. It was hypothesized that a higher political participation of women in a local council coalition leads to a higher level of goal setting of environmental goals. Methodology: The hypothesis was tested by testing the correlation between the political participation of women in a local council coalition and the level of goal setting of environmental goals in the local council coalition agreement. 50 local council coalitions were included in the sample. The political participation of women was calculated by counting the number of women in a local council coalition and expressing this in a percentage relative to the total amount of seats in a local council coalition. The level of goal setting was calculated by comparing environmental goals of each local council coalition to the goals set by the national government and granting points accordingly. Three quantitative environmental goals were included in the study: the reduction of CO2-emissions, disconnection from gas and climate neutrality. A local council coalition agreement was granted more points if a goal was higher than that of the national government in terms of it having a higher goal percentage or having an earlier deadline in time. Conclusions: No correlation was found between the political participation of women and the level of goal setting in local council coalitions. The sample was stratified to reduce possible effects of the political composition of a local council coalition on their level of goal setting. Due to this, the sample size was reduced from a possible selection of 356 municipalities to 50 municipalities. The smaller sample size could have had an effect on the correlation results. Another reason why no correlation was found could be that only small differences in level of goal setting were observed between local council coalitions. It could be that municipalities perceive the national goals as a given and thus do not diverge much from it. Additionally, the reduction of CO2-emissions and climate neutrality are difficult to measure and regulate on a municipal level which makes them less suitable as goals to aim for as a municipality. Most local council coalition agreements did express environmental concern and described how the municipality would tackle some environmental issues. However, most of these goals were inexplicit and unquantifiable and related to municipal specific policies. Implications: This study serves as a starting point in the research about the female influence on environmental goal setting at a local level of government. Further studies might benefit from a more qualitative approach by including a more diverse range of environmental goals, not just quantitative ones. Furthermore, further research needs to investigate possible causes of the lack of a relationship between the political participation of women and the level of goal setting of environmental goals. A study like this would be more focused on the decision- making process itself and the role of women and femininity in this rather than the outcome of this process. Studies like these will help in generating a more robust foundation of knowledge about environmental goal setting in a local setting and the role of gender and gender socialization.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:88 social and public administration
Programme:Public Administration MSc (60020)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/83177
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