Ecofeminism: How Environmental Issues and Gender Inequalities Intersect

by Kaelin Ferland '23 on September 29, 2022
Opinion Staff

Eco Updates

Climate change intersects with many different areas of social justice, including race, gender, and class. Gender equality and feminism, specifically, have connections to climate change and environmental issues, as women are disproportionately affected by climate disasters. This means that gender inequality is worsened by climate change.

The Ecofeminist Movement is centered around the relationship between climate change and gender equality, both of which are the result of the world’s patriarchal society. By advocating for the rights of our planet, we also advocate for women’s rights.

A recent study found that women and men, while spending approximately the same amount of money, release significantly different amounts of greenhouse gasses. This is primarily because men spend more money on gasoline and fuel, while women purchase products that have much lower carbon footprints. Despite emitting 16 percent less greenhouse gas emissions than men, women are more vulnerable to climate change and its effects.

Women in poverty are most vulnerable to the climate crisis. Usually, women in developing countries, such as Kenya and Benin, are responsible for getting water and food for their homes, and this process becomes more difficult as climate change worsens. With drought and food scarcity projected to worsen in the future, this process will become even more difficult and dangerous for women. As women and girls spend more time trying to find these resources, they have less time available for their education. This means that the climate crisis will have an impact on women’s education in poor communities.

Women and girls also have a higher chance of being harmed in natural disasters. They are less likely to be notified of impending severe weather events, leaving them little time to evacuate. Women also have less accessibility to resources that help them prepare for these emergencies, and following the disaster, they’re less likely to receive aid and relief. Because climate change also intensifies social, political, and economic issues, violence against women also could be heightened.

Gender inequality continues to be a prevalent part of our society. Until changes are made to ensure women’s rights across the globe, women and girls will continue to bear an unfair burden for climate change. They are most affected by climate change, yet there aren’t many women in power to advocate for themselves in this area. There needs to be more representation for women in the political sphere so climate change and gender equality are taken more seriously. Women and girls need to start becoming involved in environmental activism so that they can advocate for themselves and stop being overlooked.