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Feminist Political Ecology

Feminist Political Ecology and Rural Women-Led Cooperatives in Hidalgo, Mexico


Alarcón, Jozelin María Soto, Diana Xóchitl González Gómez, Eduardo Rodríguez Juárez, and Angélica María Vázquez Rojas. 2020. “Feminist Political Ecology and Rural Women-Led Cooperatives in Hidalgo, Mexico.” Textual (75): 131-55.

Authors: Jozelin María Soto Alarcón, Diana Xóchitl González Gómez, Eduardo Rodríguez Juárez, Angélica María Vázquez Rojas


This study analyzes through feminist political ecology approach the gender strategies enacted by two peasant and indigenous rural women-led cooperatives in Hidalgo Mexico, to access and manage natural resources intersected by ethnicity and training. With a long-term longitudinal study, the interdependence between cooperative organization and climate change processes are explored. Time poverty, gender restriction for rural women, collective strategies to create productive autonomous space and identify stakeholders’ co-responsibility, are discussed. The cooperatives efforts in climate change processes in critical environments are highlighted by the approach.


El  artículo  analiza  desde  la  ecología  política  feminista  las  estrategias  de  género  implementadas   por   dos   cooperativas   dirigidas   por   mujeres   campesinas   e   indígenas   en   Hidalgo,   México,   para   acceder   y   controlar   recursos   naturales,   intersectados  por  la  etnia  y  la  capacitación.  Mediante  un  estudio  longitudinal  de  largo plazo, se explora la interdependencia entre la organización cooperativa y los procesos de cambio ambiental encabezados por las socias. Se discute el tiempo de pobreza, las restricciones de género para mujeres rurales, las estrategias colectivas para construir espacios autónomos de producción e identifica la corresponsabilidad de actores involucrados. El enfoque destaca el papel de las cooperativas en procesos de cambio ecológico en entornos ambientales críticos.

Keywords: gender, environmental preservation, time poverty

Topics: Environment, Climate Change, Feminisms, Feminist Political Ecology, Gender, Women, Indigenous, Indigenous Knowledge Systems, Livelihoods Regions: Americas, Central America Countries: Mexico

Year: 2020

‘Spaces of Exclusion’ in Community Water Governance: a Feminist Political Ecology of Gender and Participation in Malawi’s Urban Water User Associations


Adams, Ellis Adjei, Luke Juran, and Idowu Ajibade. 2018. “‘Spaces of Exclusion’ in Community Water Governance: a Feminist Political Ecology of Gender and Participation in Malawi’s Urban Water User Associations.” Geoforum. doi: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2018.06.016

Authors: Ellis Adjei Adams, Luke Juran, Idowu Ajibade


Much of the literature on gender dimensions of community-based water governance focuses on irrigation systems in rural areas. Largely overlooked is how gender dynamics influence participation in community-based urban water governance systems. To address this gap, we use insights from Feminist Political Ecology (FPE) to examine whether and how community-based governance of drinking water in an urban context leads to (in) equitable gender participation and decision making. Using household surveys (n = 415), key informant interviews (n = 19), focus-group discussions (n = 14), we explore gender dynamics and power relations underpinning participation, decision making processes, and employment and benefit sharing arrangements among Water User Associations (WUAs) in the urban informal settlements of Lilongwe, Malawi. We find that WUAs do not guarantee equitable gender participation. Rather, inequitable participation is simply reified through: (1) gendered representation in WUA structures; (2) socio-cultural practices and women’s self-exclusion; and (3) community micro-politics and power relations. Our findings contradict the notion that community-based governance of water leads to equitable participation and empowerment of women. The policy implications are that without systematic efforts to incorporate women’s needs, interests, and voices, so-called participatory approaches to water governance will only serve to suppress women’s agency and reinforce existing gender-based inequalities. Future work will explore the pathways to women’s leadership in the WUAs and interrogate how women on the board and executive committees navigate their way up the hierarchy, their experiences in a male-dominated water governance scheme and their recommendations for how WUAs can improve women’s participation.

Keywords: feminist political ecology, water users associations, gender, participation, urban water governance, Malawi

Topics: Feminisms, Feminist Political Ecology, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equity, Governance, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Malawi

Year: 2018

Gender and the Urban Commons in India: An Overview of Scientific Literature and the Relevance of a Feminist Political Ecology Perspective


Rao, Manisha. 2020. “Gender and the Urban Commons in India: An Overview of Scientific Literature and the Relevance of a Feminist Political Ecology Perspective.” International Quarterly for Asian Studies 51 (1-2): 261-76.

Author: Manisha Rao


Traditionally, the concept of the commons implied a rural commons, an area of common usage for agricultural or pastoral purposes. As increasing numbers of people migrate to cities, however, sociological studies have focused on urban issues, of which the urban commons is one area of emerging research. In crowded, underdeveloped cities, residents must often rely on these shared public areas for their livelihoods or basic needs. This paper provides an overview of the literature on the urban commons in India, illustrating the relevance of a feminist political ecology perspective to sharpen its critical edge. The article begins with an overview of the commons debate and then moves on to analyse the question of the urban commons. After mapping the research on the urban commons in India, it analyses the issue of the urban commons within the context of the gender and environment debate that emerged in the 1980s. This is followed by alternative conceptualisations of gender and the environment as put forward by feminists in the Global South. Finally, a plea is made to engage in the study of the urban commons through the lens of feminist political ecology.

Keywords: India, urban commons, gender, literature, feminist political ecology

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Migration, Feminisms, Feminist Political Ecology, Gender, Livelihoods Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India

Year: 2020

Re-Politicizing the Gender and Climate Change Debate: The Potential of Feminist Political Ecology to Engage with Power in Action in Adaptation Policies and Projects in Nicaragua


Gonda, Noémi. 2019. “Re-Politicizing the Gender and Climate Change Debate: The Potential of Feminist Political Ecology to Engage with Power in Action in Adaptation Policies and Projects in Nicaragua.” Geoforum 106: 87-96.

Author: Noémi Gonda


The time of gender-blind climate change policies and projects has passed. However, while research is increasingly moving away from understanding the relationship between gender and climate change in a linear, technocratic, and instrumental way, gender and climate change policy-makers and project practitioners are having difficulties operationalizing this progress. In the meantime, as climate change effects are increasingly felt worldwide, and because the policy context after the Paris Agreement (2015) is bringing new challenges for gender and equity concerns, (re-)politicizing the climate justice debate in a policy and project-relevant way is more crucial than ever. My aim in this article is to contribute to this endeavor by exploring how a feminist political ecology framework applied to a specific case study in Nicaragua—one of the countries most affected by climate change in the world—can generate new policy and project-relevant lessons and insights from the ground that can in turn strengthen the conceptual debate on gender and climate change adaptation. Based on ethnographic fieldwork carried out in 2013 and 2014, as well as eight years of professional experience as a development worker in Nicaragua, I discuss the workings of power in the feminist political ecology of climate change adaptation; in so doing I raise new questions that will, I hope, lead policy-makers and project practitioners to explore how adaptation processes could open up the conceptual possibility for emancipation, transformation, and new ways of living life in common.

Keywords: power, feminist political ecology, climate change adaptation, gender, Nicaragua

Topics: Environment, Climate Change, Feminisms, Feminist Political Ecology, Gender Regions: Americas, Central America

Year: 2019

"Now We Have Equality": A Feminist Political Ecology Analysis of Carbon Markets in Oaxaca, Mexico


Gay-Antaki, Miriam. 2016. “‘Now We Have Equality’: A Feminist Political Ecology Analysis of Carbon Markets in Oaxaca, Mexico.” Journal of Latin American Geography 15 (3): 49-66.

Author: Miriam Gay-Antaki



Carbon projects follow a neoliberal logic that stresses that nature is best conserved via market mechanisms. Studies and experiences of the impacts of development projects on communities and feminist political ecologies suggest that women, the elderly, the young, the poor, and the indigenous often perceive projects differently, benefit and lose in different ways, or shape the projects on the ground to fit their needs. Carbon projects have differentiated impacts within a community especially on the poor, women, and ecology; however, these differences do not tend to be the main focus of scholarship. The research presented here focuses on the effects of a wind project and a small scale reforestation project and the convergence of environment, gender and development as these are introduced into communities in Oaxaca, Mexico. This paper expands on carbon offset literature in Mexico by looking at the differential impacts of technologies on geographies and people with specific attention to gender. I find that there are important gendered differences between the wind and the forest projects, and suggest that a Feminist Political Ecology perspective is a necessary, though infrequently employed, lens through which to understand the impacts of carbon markets.


Los proyectos de carbono siguen una lógica neoliberal que mantiene que la mejor manera de conservar a la naturaleza es a través de mecanismos de mercado. Estudios y experiencias de los impactos de proyectos de desarrollo en las comunidades y ecologías políticas feministas sugieren que las mujeres, los ancianos, los jóvenes, los pobres y los indígenas a menudo perciben los proyectos de manera diferente, ganan ó pierden de manera diferente, o adaptan los proyectos para satisfacer a sus necesidades. Se ha documentado que los proyectos de carbono tienen impactos diferenciados dentro de comunidades, especialmente sobre los pobres, las mujeres, y la ecología; Sin embargo, estas diferencias no tienden a ser el foco principal. La investigación que se presenta aquí se centra en un mega proyecto eólico y dos proyectos de reforestación de pequeña escala y se enfoca en la convergencia del medio ambiente, de género y desarrollo, al ser introducidos en las comunidades de Oaxaca, México. Este trabajo busca expandir la literatura sobre los mercados de carbono en México con un enfoque en los impactos diferenciales de las tecnologías, la geografía y en las personas con atención especial al género. Encuentro que hay diferencias de género importantes entre: los proyectos forestales y el de viento y, si están bajo un esquema de Mecanismo de Desarrollo Limpio o un mecanismo voluntario, la escala del proyecto y el grado en el que está involucrada la comunidad.

Keywords: carbon projects, feminist political ecology, Oaxaca

Topics: Age, Environment, Feminisms, Feminist Political Ecology, Gender, Women, Livelihoods Regions: Americas, North America Countries: Mexico

Year: 2016

Intersections of Gender and Water: Comparative Approaches to Everyday Gendered Negotiations of Water Access in Underserved Areas of Accra, Ghana and Cape Town, South Africa


Harris, L., D. Kleiber, J. Goldin, A. Darkwah, and C. Morinville. 2016. "Intersections of Gender and Water: Comparative Approaches to Everyday Gendered Negotiations of Water Access in Underserved Areas of Accra, Ghana and Cape Town, South Africa." Journal of Gender Studies 26 (5): 561-82.

Authors: L. Harris, D. Kleiber, J. Goldin, A. Darkwah, C. Morinville


A large and growing body of literature suggests that women and men often have differentiated relationships to water access, uses, knowledges, governance, and experiences. From a feminist political ecology perspective, these relationships can be mediated by gendered labour practices (within the household, at the community level, or within the workplace), socio-cultural expectations (e.g. related to notions of masculinity and femininity), as well as intersectional differences (e.g. race, income, and so forth). While these relationships are complex, multiple, and vary by context, it is frequently argued that due to responsibility for domestic provision or other pathways, women may be particularly affected if water quality or access is compromised. This paper reports on a statistical evaluation of a 478 household survey conducted in underserved areas of Accra, Ghana and Cape Town, South Africa in early 2012. Interrogating our survey results in the light of the ideas of gender differentiated access, uses, knowledges, governance, and experiences of water, we open up considerations related to the context of each of our study sites, and also invite possible revisions and new directions for these debates. In particular, we are interested in the instances where differences among male and female respondents were less pronounced than expected. Highlighting these unexpected results we find it helpful to draw attention to methods – in particular we argue that a binary male–female approach is not that meaningful for the analysis, and instead, gender analysis requires some attention to intersectional differences (e.g. homeownership, employment, or age). We also make the case for the importance of combining qualitative and quantitative work to understand these relationships, as well as opening up what might be learned by more adequately exploring the resonances and tensions between these approaches.

Keywords: Ghana, South Africa, gender, water, methods, triangulation, intersectionality

Topics: Feminisms, Feminist Political Ecology, Gender, Gender Analysis, Governance, Households, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation, Intersectionality, Livelihoods Regions: Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa Countries: Ghana, South Africa

Year: 2016

Climate Change Adaptation and Gender Inequality: Insights from Rural Vietnam


Ylipaa, Josephine, Sara Gabrielsson, and Anne Jerneck. 2019. "Climate Change Adaptation and Gender Inequality: Insights from Rural Vietnam." Sustainability 11 (1): 2805-21.

Authors: Josephine Ylipaa, Sara Gabrielsson, Anne Jerneck


Vietnam is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change impacts, especially from extreme weather events such as storms and floods. Thus, climate change adaptation is crucial, especially for natural resource-dependent farmers. Based on a qualitative research approach using a feminist political ecology lens, this article investigates gendered patterns of rural agrarian livelihoods and climate adaptation in the province of Thái Bình. In doing so, we identify differentiated rights and responsibilities between female and male farmers, leading to unequal opportunities and immobility for females, making them more vulnerable to climate impacts and threatening to reduce their capacity to adapt. This research also shows that demands on farmers to contribute to perpetual increases in agricultural output by the state poses a challenge, since farming livelihoods in Vietnam are increasingly becoming feminised, as a result of urbanisation and devaluation of farming. Past and present national strategies and provincial implementation plans linked to climate change do not consider the burden affecting rural female farmers, instead the focus lies on addressing technical solutions to adaptation. With little attention being paid to an increasingly female workforce, existing gender inequalities may be exacerbated, threatening the future existence of rural livelihoods and the viability of Vietnam’s expansion into global markets.

Keywords: agriculture, climate change adaptation, gender inequality, feminist political ecology, vulnerability, policy, sustainability, Vietnam

Topics: Agriculture, Environment, Climate Change, Environmental Disasters, Feminisms, Feminist Political Ecology, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Livelihoods Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Vietnam

Year: 2019

Watersheds in Marxist Ecofeminism


Odih, Pamela. 2014. Watersheds in Marxist Ecofeminism. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Author: Pamela Odih


The neoliberal environmental governance of river conservation, coupled with the organizational modernization imposed and sustained by the European Union’s water directives, engenders Other Spaces of feminist ecological alignment. The riparian landscapes of urban cities are manifestations of political and ideological rationalities operating under the constraints of capitalist markets, and are saturated by the contradictions of neoliberal environmental science. Neoliberal rationalities configure river waterways as "sites", the dimensions of which are analogous to Michel Foucault’s account of spatial heterotopias as polymerous relations of propinquity between junctures. Many of the modernising initiatives instituted by the European Union’s Water Framework Directive can be discerned as biopolitical neoliberal regimes governing local river spaces, through the enfolding into "spaces of emplacement" and the "sites" of programmatic calculation, financialisation of the domestic sphere, and market-based neoliberal environmental science. Primarily informed by organizational ethnographies, extensive interviews and ethnographic observations of river restorations, this book empirically examines how the relationally embodied heterochronies of ecological activism challenge the programmatic rationalities of the European Union’s river "government", namely its shifting assemblages of formal and informal agencies, practices and institutions that variously and differentially align the self-regulating ability of subjects with the design, objectives and scope of the European Union’s neoliberal regime of river governance.
This book’s analysis of the complex inter-governmental networking eliding the local governance of rivers with voluntary sector community-outreach and European Union directives identifies new locations of ecological activism precipitated by political affinities, which have become simultaneously public and private. The capacity of river heterotopias to intersect the public and private spheres of urban cities emphasises the intrinsic reproductive labour time of river restoration; for, as Foucault suggests, the heterochronies of urban heterotopia are one and the same time "outside of time", while also constituting "a sort of perpetual and indefinite accumulation of time in an immobile place". The book shows that the intersecting heterochronies of the urban river space confirm this Other Space as an intriguing gendered heterotopia.
Table of Contents:
1. Time for a Marxist Water Ecology
2. Dispossession: “Isolated with no before and after”
T.S. Eliot East Coker
3. Watersheds in Marxist Ecofeminist Analysis
4. Organizational Values of River Conservation Charities
5. Volunteering Our Time in the Sub-Political Geographies of River Conservation
6. Gender and Geopolitics of Care in River Conservation


Topics: Environment, Feminisms, Ecofeminism, Feminist Political Ecology Regions: Europe

Year: 2014

Feminist Ecologies: Changing Environments in the Anthropocene


Stevens, Lara, Peta Tait, and Denise Varney, eds. 2018. Feminist Ecologies: Changing Environments in the Anthropocene. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Authors: Lara Stevens, ed. , Peta Tait, ed., Denise Varney, ed.


This edited volume critically engages with ecofeminist scholarship. It tracks the ongoing dialogue between women’s issues and environmental change by republishing the work of pioneering scholars and activists in the field. Together with new essays by contemporary ecofeminist scholars, the book uncovers the dialectical relationship between environmental and feminist causes, the relational identities of feminists and ecofeminists, and the concept of ecofeminism as a rallying point for environmental feminism. The volume defines ecofeminism as a multidisciplinary project and will appeal to readers working within the field of Environmental Humanities. (Summary from Palgrave Macmillan)
Table of Contents:
1. Deeper than Deep Ecology: The Eco-Feminist Connection 
Ariel Salleh
2. Relating to Nature: Deep Ecology or Ecofeminism? 
Freya Mathews
3. Women and Nature Revisited: Ecofeminist Reconfigurations of an Old Association
Kate Rigby
4. Women and Land Claims
Deborah Bird Rose

Topics: Environment, Feminisms, Ecofeminism, Feminist Political Ecology, Gender, Women

Year: 2018

Critical Ecofeminism


Gaard, Greta. 2017. Critical Ecofeminism. Lanham: Lexington Books.

Author: Greta Gaard


Australian feminist philosopher Val Plumwood coined the term “critical ecofeminism” to “situate humans in ecological terms and non-humans in ethical terms,” for “the two tasks are interconnected, and cannot be addressed properly in isolation from each other.” Variously using the terms “critical ecological feminism,” “critical anti-dualist ecological feminism,” and “critical ecofeminism,” Plumwood’s work developed amid a range of perspectives describing feminist intersections with ecopolitical issues—i.e., toxic production and toxic wastes, indigenous sovereignty, global economic justice, species justice, colonialism and dominant masculinity. Well over a decade before the emergence of posthumanist theory and the new materialisms, Plumwood’s critical ecofeminist framework articulates an implicit posthumanism and respect for the animacy of all earthothers, exposing the linkages among diverse forms of oppression, and providing a theoretical basis for further activist coalitions and interdisciplinary scholarship.
Had Plumwood lived another ten years, she might have described her work as “Anthropocene Ecofeminism,” “Critical Material Ecofeminism,” “Posthumanist Anticolonial Ecofeminism”—all of these inflections are present in her work.
Here, Critical Ecofeminism advances upon Plumwood’s intellectual, activist, and scholarly work by exploring its implications for a range of contemporary perspectives and issues--critical animal studies, plant studies, sustainability studies, environmental justice, climate change and climate justice, masculinities and sexualities. With the insights available through a critical ecofeminism, these diverse eco-justice perspectives become more robust. (Summary from Google Books)
Table of Contents:
1. Just Ecofeminist Sustainability
2. Plants and Animals
3. Milk
4. Fireworks
5. Animals in Space
6. Climate Justice
7. “Cli-fi” Narratives
8. Queering the Climate

Topics: Environment, Climate Change, Feminisms, Ecofeminism, Feminist Political Ecology, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Sexuality

Year: 2017


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