Graduation Year

Spring 2013

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Special Majors

Second Department

Environmental Analysis

Reader 1

Alicia Bonaparte

Reader 2

Brinda Sarathy

Terms of Use & License Information

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 License

Rights Information

© 2013 Sarah M.K. Cycon


Environmentalists, social scientists, and economists have long critiqued the enduring impacts of the Green Revolution’s diffusion of agricultural technologies throughout the Global South. However, largely missing from the myriad analyses is the relationship between those technologies, namely pesticides, and health outcomes. This thesis explores the social and biological mechanisms through which excessive pesticide use culminated into adverse reproductive health outcomes for rural women in the Global South. Drawing together the history of the Green Revolution’s use of DDT, its social and economic impacts, and the biology of pesticide contamination in women’s bodies exposes how the Green Revolution situated women in spaces of increased pesticide exposure. Together, the gendered nature women’s social and biological susceptibilities resulted in impaired reproductive functioning. The most common reproductive impacts of DDT contamination are breast milk contamination, spontaneous abortion, and preterm delivery. Analyzing an intricate web of social, economic, and biological factors through the theoretical lenses of ecofeminism, structural violence, and dialectics illustrates how women’s negative health outcomes are a new, and unacknowledged legacy of the Green Revolution.