The Gender Equality and State Environmentalism essay by Kari Norgaard and Richard York investigates the effect that the involvement of women has on environmental politics. They claim to have found this shows that it is important to consider “the role of gender in analyses of state behavior” due to the similarities between women and the exploitation of nature. One key piece of evidence they uncovered was that women are more likely to speak out about environmental concern than men, and have a more well-rounded view of the issues. This shows that certain “human-environmental relationships are themselves gendered” with certain issues being supported by men more than women and vice versa (Norgaard, 508). Not only do Norgaard and York find that these differences hold throughout nationalities as well, they find that women found certain things more risky than men, and that they make up “60 to 80 percent of membership in mainstream environmental organizations” (Norgaard, 509). In the end, they found that “societies with greater representation of women in Parliament are more prone to ratify environmental treaties” (Norgaard, 512). Women contribute highly to the development of their nations, and their study confirmed that there is a connection to feminist theories and environmental issues.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an organization that is actively supporting women in roles that aid in the betterment of environmental issues. Much like Norgaaard and York saw and understood the different needs women have when it comes to the environment, the OECD points out the gender differentiation when it comes to sustainable infrastructure. Their paper entitled Women’s Leadership in Environmental Action delves into this, stating that “Better access to sustainable infrastructure services and participation in infrastructure investment projects…that meet women’s needs is critical to enhance women’s economic empowerment” (OECD, 2022). They specifically mention issues surrounding water, energy and housing that need to be improved, but there are other areas in need of improvement as well. The report delves into gender considerations in transport, social infrastructure, digital infrastructure, and risks of harassment women face when performing the work surrounding these topics. Later, they cover ‘gender mainstreaming’ into different aspects of project implementations and deliveries.

Link to OECD the article:

Xia Ling and Yanhong Liu’s article titled “The Coordination of Environmental Protection and Female Discrimination Based on the Concept of Affirmative Action” touches on many of the same points as Norgaard and York. Norgaard and York state in their essay: “In an unequal society, the impacts of environmental degradation fall disproportionately on the least powerful”, meaning women (Norgaard, 507). Ling and Liu expand on this thought in a different way by saying that men will go so far as to “use their position to block or suppress” women’s efforts in this area to maintain their control on social resources (Ling, 2023). When this impact is reviewed, there is no space to comment on any environmental changes from a gendered point of view. Ling and Liu agree that women lack equality in this field and urge for legal change. They call for governments to “incorporate gender awareness into their policies” through education and training, and learning from women’s past approaches (Ling, 2023). Along with research from a gendered perspective, they feel moving away from a neutral concept in policy implementation will make a huge difference.

Ling/Liu article:

Lastly, I came across the below statistic that illustrates the issue we are facing today regarding the involvement of women in politics. The core of the readings this week focus on the lack of women in political and environmental roles and, more importantly, how important their voices are to the communities they serve. This statistic shows how urgent it is for more women to become involved in government issues, as we are not likely to see marked change within our lifetimes.

As of 1 January 2023, there are 31 countries where 34 women serve as Heads of State and/or Government. At the current rate, gender equality in the highest positions of power will not be reached for another 130 years.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *