Climate Change Politics in the UK: A Feminist Intersectional Analysis

Citation:

Wilson, Joanna. 2017. “Climate Change Politics in the UK: A Feminist Intersectional Analysis.” Paper presented at ECPR General Conference, Oslo, September 6-9.

Author: Joanna Wilson

Abstract:

Despite growing concern of environmental and climate justice, the issue of gender and climate change has, to date, received comparatively little scholarly attention. What is lacking is empirical evidence showing the ways in which overwhelmingly masculinised discourses of climate change can exacerbate or entrench existing inequalities, such as the gendered division of labour or the feminisation of poverty. Currently, the majority of gender and climate change scholarship, and most gender and climate change focused NGOs, perpetuate a narrative of impacts and vulnerabilities of women in the Global South. While this has been critical in ensuring recognition of gender in climate politics, it has arguably kept the construction of women firmly rooted in problematic narratives of subdued, passive women in need of masculine protection. In this paper, therefore, we explore how gender priorities are considered in contemporary policy. We do so by first highlighting the ways in which UK climate change politics can, or does, exacerbate the gendered division of environmental labour through: the ‘good jobs’ in masculinised professions, performed by men; the ‘dirty’ jobs in recycling, performed by migrant labourers; and the ‘household’ jobs or reproductive work, performed by women. Finally, we conclude by offering insights into how gender experts and activists can respond to a changing political climate.

Keywords: climate change politics, gender, feminism, intersectionality, environmental justice

Topics: Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Gender Roles, Gendered Discourses, Intersectionality Regions: Europe, Northern Europe Countries: United Kingdom

Year: 2017

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