Feminist Perspectives on Sustainability


MacGregor, Sherilyn. 2003. "Feminist Perspectives on Sustainability." In Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS). Paris: UNESCO-EOLSS.

Author: Sherilyn MacGregor

Keywords: androcentrism, antimilitarism, caring economy, dualism, ecofeminism, environmental justice, environmental privatization, feminist ecological economics, gender division of labor, logic of domination, patriarchy, postmodernism, oikos, subsistence perspective, WEDO, WED, Women's Action Agenda 21


This paper raises several points concerning the convergence and divergence of feminist and non-feminist approaches to sustainability. The fundamental divergence is the lack of a gender analysis in the non-feminist sustainability literature. Ecofeminists, on the other hand, have argued that without the inclusion of feminist concerns for diversity in general and gender equality in particular, most green approaches are incomplete and may even threaten to intensify women’s subordination. This problem has been observed in discussions of policy-making, ethics, work, community, citizenship, political participation, urban environments. It is clear that many of the debates and criticisms that feminists have had of other social and political theories have been reproduced in new sustainability-oriented discourses. Perhaps the most evident convergence is that both ecofeminists and radical environmentalists tend to seek the fundamental restructuring of economic, social, political and spatial relations and view the creation of a coordinated social movement (often called a rainbow coalition) as vital to social justice and planetary survival. It is clear to this author, however, that unless the gaps in green political analyses are filled, ecofeminists will be reluctant to join in a coalition for sustainability.

Topics: Feminisms, Ecofeminism, Gender, Gender Analysis, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality

Year: 2003

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