From their journal article Gender Equality and State Environmentalism, Kari Norgaard and Richard York present on the intersectionality of women’s representation in nations with research on environmental treaty ratification, gender equality, and environmental protection. They discuss how the exploitation of the environment has an effect on gender equality, and the overall exploitation of women. From the article, Norgaard and York also do a good job to bring in ecofeminist perspectives to help us better understand the complex relationship between the interconnected issues:
Ecofeminists theory implies at least three specific ways in which gender equality may be linked to environmental degradation. First, nation-states with greater gender inequality may be less environmentally responsible due to the hegemony of the logic of domination. Second, due ti the presence of parallel social and historical construction of women and nature, nation-states with greater gender inequality may be less concerned with environmental protection. Finally, the parallel valuing or devaluing of the reproductive labor of women and of the natural environment will likely affect both gender equality and state environmentalism.
Environmental degradation and gender inequality have been part of the reasons for the deconstruction of nation states, and the devaluing of women’s roles in and around nature. The reality of sexism is what keeps women at bay while large industrial complexes continue to profit from natural resources, while ignoring global warming and its effects not only on women, but the world. Gender inequality is what makes environmental protection less of an option for states and nations that struggle with representing women who want to assert their role in environmentalism.
Below is the first example that I was able to find that demonstrates a clear understanding of the relationship between women, environmentalism, and political power. It emphasizes how women can help solve and reduce climate change/crisis. The video includes solutions for women such as a good education, widespread contraception, and good family planning. All of these things can benefit women and their roles in society because it gives them more of a voice for themselves, and for their future. The video also emphasizes that women in general consider more opportunities, and ways of thinking about issues than men which is why it’s important for women to be able to gain political momemtun in the future so that they can work with men in order to affirm more gender equality and solve more issues relating to gender inequality. In the end of the article, York and Norgaard recognize that if we are going to improve gender equality for political action regarding the environment, then we need to consider and support the statuses of women around the world. They state that, “Global efforts aimed at developing environmental policies should therefore concentrate more on improving the status of women” (York,Norgaard 519). The video makes clear that if women are well supported, then the state of environmentalism for climate change would have a better chance of succeeding.
When searching for another example, I thought “ok, so we know why and how women would be beneficial for helping to solve the issue of global warming, but what helps to explain the need for women’s involvement in the first place”? I thought about AOC (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) and how she has worked hard to rally (with Bernie Sanders) to adapt the Green New Deal. I had forgotten what it was, and so I went on YouTube to remind myself about what it actually involves. Then I thought “ok, so it seems like in order to better help women in the climate fight, the Green New Deal proposes steps that need to happen in order for women (and men) to adjust for a new way of living so that we can have hope for a better future for all”. Although a long way off from becoming a reality, I feel as though this is a really good tool to use in order to generate realistic further streps that could be implemented in order to make shifts over a short period of time. Talk about gender equality! York and Norgaard state that, “If women tend to be more environmentally progressive, the inclusion of women as equal members of society-as voters, citizens, policy makers, and social movement participants-should positively influence state behavior” (York, Norgaard 508). I acknowledge that the Green New Deal video is slightly less connected to women than the first one. However I feel that it’s important to look at environmentalism from different perspectives, and get a different opinions on how we can tackle the climate crises happening before us. AOC is a women in power, and is definitely qualified as an environmentalist.
I am curious as to what you all think of my ideas!
Below is a link to an article that I found talking about how the climate crisis has exacerbated violence against women and girls. York and Norgaard put simply in the beginning of their article that “…the argument of of some feminist theorists that the exploitation of nature and the exploitation of women are interconnected” (York, Norgaard 506). They are right. This is obviously not the first article out there that talks about this issue, but it’s important that it’s being recognized!
“Climate Change Exacerbates Violence against Women and Girls.” OHCHR, The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, 12 July 2022, www.ohchr.org/en/stories/2022/07/climate-change-exacerbates-violence-against-women-and-girls.
“Empowering Women: Why Women Are Crucial to Solving Climate Change | ClimateScience #8.” Www.youtube.com, 22 July 2021, www.youtube.com/watch?v=25aNiGPZBcg. Accessed 14 Mar. 2023.
Norgaard, Kari, and Richard York. “Gender Equality and State Environmentalism.” Gender & Society, vol. 19, no. 4, 4 Aug. 2005, pp. 506–522, https://doi.org/10.1177/0891243204273612.
Vox. “The Green New Deal, Explained.” YouTube, 12 June 2019, www.youtube.com/watch?v=GxIDJWCbk6I.