Gender Dimensions of Sustainable Consumption


Weller, Ines. 2017. “Gender Dimensions of Sustainable Consumption.” In Routledge Handbook of Gender and Environment, edited by Sherilyn MacGregor, 331–44. London: Routldege.

Author: Ines Weller



Sustainable consumption and production patterns have been prominent issues from the very start of the sustainable development debate. In fact, Agenda 21, the plan of action adopted at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro stated that ‘the major cause of the continued deterioration of the global environment is the unsustainable pattern of consumption and production, particularly in industrialized coun-
tries . . .’ (UN 1992:31). Although the urgent need for fundamental changes in consumption and production patterns, which would transform societies and push them in the direction of sustainable development, has been recognized since that time, particularly in the Global North, there are still very few signs that any such transformation is taking place. World energy consumption grows unabated as global carbon emissions continue to rise. The fundamental inequalities between the Global North and South also remain, despite very high rates of growth in the newly industrialized and developing countries of the Global South in particular (IEA 2013). In this context, and especially in the context of sustainable patterns of consumption and production, the attitudes and behaviours of private citizens and consumers, their perceptions of environmental problems, and associated use of resources all play an important role. Hitherto, however, these debates have neglected the significance of gender, gender relations, and gender justice for sustainable consumption.

In this chapter, I will focus on debates and research in Germany/Western Europe. I begin by introducing the definitions, objectives, and areas of responsibility of various actors for sustainable consumption. This compact overview focuses in particular on the relationship between production and consumption as gendered societal spheres. I then move on to consider the tension that exists between the theory of privatized environmental responsibility, on the one hand, which criticizes tendencies to overstate and moralize the power of private consumers to shape change and, on the other, women as change agents for more sustainable consumption. The next part of the chapter is organized around the distinction, which is useful for analyzing the gender aspects of sustainable consumption, between explicit and implicit gender dimensions. With reference to feminist theorist Sandra Harding (1986), I draw together the individual and structural levels of gender as explicit gender dimensions. Both of these are for the most part based on statistical data and empirical findings, particularly concerning gender differences and, in this respect, link to ambivalence between the analysis of gender and gender hierarchies, on the one hand, and the reproduction of traditional gender images and dichotomies on the other. The discussion focuses in particular on the symbolic conceptual level of gender, which I consider in detail in relation to a specific example. The background is the feminist critique of the claim of the natural sciences to objectivity (Orland and Scheich 1995). Drawing on the example of a study on the volume of food waste, I draw attention to several gender-related ‘blank spaces’ and gaps in the data that have been produced in this field. This emerges more clearly from closer consideration of the treatment given to male-coded production and female-coded consumption. (Summary from original source)

Topics: Development, Environment, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Justice Regions: Europe, Western Europe Countries: Germany

Year: 2017

Rethinking Knowledge Systems for Urban Resilience: Feminist and Decolonial Contributions to Just Transformations


Wijsman, Katinka, and Mathieu Feagan. 2019. “Rethinking Knowledge Systems for Urban Resilience: Feminist and Decolonial Contributions to Just Transformations.” Environmental Science & Policy 98 (August): 70–76..

Authors: Katinka Wijsman, Mathieu Feagan


Work in urban resilience planning recognizes the importance of knowledge diversity to understanding and acting on climate change, but falls short in adequately situating itself within ongoing historical processes that shape uneven urban playing fields in which planning happens. This paper uses insights from environmental feminist and decolonial knowledge politics to challenge knowledge systems analysis to explicitly question and alter structures of power in environmental knowledge making in North American cities. If knowledge systems analysis can investigate and intervene in governance structures through which environmental decision- and policy-making happen, this necessitates reflection on ontological, epistemological and ethical commitments (or ‘starting points’) as these carry material and discursive weight: they open up and foreclose ways in which resilience is practiced. Given increasing recognition that urban resilience needs to consider issues of justice and equity, in this paper we take cues from feminist and decolonial scholarship that has centered these themes for decades and which offer ‘starting points’ to rethink knowledge systems for resilience. Understanding urbanization as key process in the expansion of relations fundamental to the production of anthropocentric climate change, we argue that changing these relations is crucial if urban resilience planning is to contribute to alternative and socially just urban futures. Against tendencies of depoliticization that solutions-oriented work can sometimes exhibit, feminist and decolonial perspectives locate knowledge-making practices squarely within struggles for social justice in the city. We propose three strategies for those working on knowledge systems for resilience to advance their practice: centering justice and transgression, reflexive research practice, and thinking historically. Ultimately, this paper shows that taking seriously critical social sciences furthers fundamentally new ideas for what transitions to urban resilience could mean.

Keywords: urban planning, climate change, decolonial theory, feminist theory, knowledge systems

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Environment, Climate Change, Feminisms, Governance, Infrastructure, Urban Planning, Justice

Year: 2019

Ecowomanism: Buddhist-Christian Dialogue from a Womanist and Ecological Perspective


Harris, Melanie L. 2020. "Ecowomanism: Buddhist-Christian Dialogue from a Womanist and Ecological Perspective." Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion 36 (1): 123-9.

Author: Melanie L. Harris


Ecowomanism is an approach in religion and ecology that embraces the environmental justice paradigm: a theoretical lens through which one can examine the intersections among racial, economic, gender, and sexual injustice and how these forms of oppression converge with climate injustice. Here, Harris introduces ecowomanism as a multilayered approach to climate justice that can inform and be informed by Christian-Buddhist dialogue. In previous work, she has discussed the significance of an interfaith lens in the work of ecowomanism. Due to the drastic impact of climate change across religious groups, it is crucial to find shared language and bridge understanding about how people of various faiths and nonfaith can raise awareness and confront climate change together in the earth community. She argues that by moving through an eco-womanist method, activists and practitioners can engage comparative religious discourse about the shared and sometimes differing moral and ethical guidelines regarding care for the earth. 

Keywords: ecowomanism, eco-memory, justice

Topics: Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Intersectionality, Justice, Race, Religion

Year: 2020

'A Walk with the Lads’: Masculinities’ Perspectives, Gender Dynamics and Resilience in Soacha, Colombia


Gutierrez, D. José Antonio, and Pat Gibbons. 2020. “‘A Walk with the Lads’: Masculinities’ Perspectives, Gender Dynamics and Resilience in Soacha, Colombia.” International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction 49 (October). 

Authors: D. José Antonio Gutierrez, Pat Gibbons


Soacha is a municipality in the periphery of Colombia's capital Bogotá, whose population has soared over the past two decades with a constant influx of people displaced by conflict all over the country. The result is a fragile municipality with a majority of highly vulnerable settlements due to: high levels of tenure insecurity; generalised lack of protection and territorial control by gangs; normalised violence; and high levels of intra-urban displacement. Disenfranchisement and lack of rights set the backdrop in which the daily lives of hundreds of thousands of people transcur. As part of the Horizon 2020 project, the ‘Preparedness and Resilience to address Urban Vulnerability’ (PRUV) Consortium employed the Urban Vulnerability Walk methodology to understand the vulnerabilities of both men and women in a gender-segregated research in one locality –Altos de Florida. While the methodology was useful to identify vulnerabilities and risks, it proved equally useful to better understand the resources of the community, both of the women and the men, in order to overcome the difficulties in which they are immersed and to build a sustainable future.

Keywords: masculinities, insecure tenure, resilience, Colombia, urban vulnerability walk

Topics: Conflict, Displacement & Migration, Urban Displacement, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Justice, Land Tenure, Violence Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2020

The Black Feminist Spatial Imagination and an Intersectional Environmental Justice


Ducre, Kishi Animashaun. 2018. “The Black Feminist Spatial Imagination and an Intersectional Environmental Justice.” Environmental Sociology 4 (1): 22–35.

Author: Kishi Animashaun Ducre


Starting with seminal work from Katherine McKittrick and Katherine McKittrick and the late Clyde Woods, this paper compares and contrasts articulations of justice as espoused by Black feminism, ecofeminism, and the movement for environmental justice. The utilization of an intersectional genealogical approach allows for examination of the ways in which these movements might serve as the ideological bases for a Black feminist spatial imagination and an intersectional environmental justice. A Black feminist spatial imagination is an orientation that accounts for the merger of frames around race, gender, and ecology; it serves as a unique departure from conventional Black feminist analysis by its particular attention to the construct of space in Black feminist epistemology. Analysis reveals that manifestos engage similar strategies around boundedness, an identification among a collective identity and the subject of reproductive justice and liberation as wresting control and self-determination of physical bodies. The final task is an outline of essential tenets for a singular notion of justice of a Black feminist spatial imagination which incorporates the spirit of all of three manifestos and expands current environmental justice discourse to include those ‘who know no one knows’ while highlighting Black women’s agency in environmentally degraded environments.

Keywords: ecofeminism, environmental justice, intersectionality, geographies, Black feminism

Topics: Environment, Feminisms, Ecofeminism, Gender, Gender Analysis, Justice, Race

Year: 2018

The Contribution of Critical Ecofeminism to the Criminological Debate in Spain: Debating All Rules of All Tribes


Varona, Gema. 2020. “The Contribution of Critical Ecofeminism to the Criminological Debate in Spain: Debating All Rules of All Tribes.” In The Emerald Handbook of Feminism, Criminology and Social Change, edited by Sandra Walklate, Kate Fitz-Gibbon, JaneMaree Maher, and Jude McCulloch, 119–36. Bingley, UK: Emerald Publishing.

Author: Gema Varona


This chapter aims to rethink how gender inequality is related to interpersonal and structural asymmetries of power displayed in our relationships with ecosystems, questioning the classical concept of ‘nature’ as something ‘out there’, as pointed out by dark ecology. First, with the aim of offering a joint North–South critical perspective on equality and sustainability, critical ecofeminism, through the work of A. Puleo, will be explained as a Spanish feminist line of thought and movement. This author, rejecting some essentialist visions of deep ecology, sets her ideas in relation to general critical social theory. Second, contrasting perspectives (critical feminism and ecology) will be combined to offer a rich cross-fertilisation between different perspectives and traditional themes in criminology. A common denominator can be found in the exercise of criticism through questioning binary categories, underlying assumptions and social injustice in relation to the visibility of harms. Third, the relevance of ecofeminism for current criminological debates will be highlighted beyond the obvious connections with green victimology. Finally, ecofeminism will be interpreted as a new critical standpoint and as a more inclusive language for fostering the criminological and victimological imagination in order to help to rethink the rules of the criminal justice system.

Keywords: ecofeminism, critical theory, green criminology, dark ecology, deep ecology, Spain

Topics: Environment, Feminisms, Ecofeminism, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Justice Regions: Europe, Southern Europe Countries: Spain

Year: 2020

Exploring Transitional Justice’s Impact Pathways on Gender Justice: Trends in Sexual and Gender-Based Violence against Women from Thirteen African Cases


Rubin, Maxine. 2020. “Exploring Transitional Justice’s Impact Pathways on Gender Justice: Trends in Sexual and Gender-Based Violence against Women from Thirteen African Cases.” Journal of Human Rights Practice 1 (1): 1-26.

Author: Maxine Rubin


The main element of gender justice addressed in transitional justice processes has been sexual and gender-based violence against women (SGBVAW). This article explores if particular dimensions (core characteristics) of transitional justice processes are more likely to positively contribute toward measures taken by the state to address SGBVAW outcomes. Empirical evidence from 13 African cases suggested that transitional justice processes that had autonomous, gender-inclusive, and reparative dimensions were more likely to see positive SGBVAW outcomes. Pending further research, the results suggest that using these dimensions of transitional justice to unpack the impact pathways of transitional justice helps to clarify the ways that transitional justice can benefit societies. The findings also suggest that impact pathways between transitional justice and SGBVAW outcomes exist, but the nature of these pathways is varied and often indirect.

Keywords: 'transitional justice', Africa, SGBV, conflict-related sexual violence and gender-based violence

Topics: Gender-Based Violence, Justice, Transitional Justice, Post-Conflict, Sexual Violence, SV against Women Regions: Africa

Year: 2020

Re-Imagining the Driver–Pressure–State–Impact–Response Framework from an Equity and Inclusive Development Perspective


Gupta, Joyeeta, Joeri Scholtens, Leisa Perch, Irene Dankelman, Joni Seager, Fülöp Sánder, Michael Stanley-Jones, and Isabell Kempf. 2020. “Re-Imagining the Driver–Pressure–State–Impact–Response Framework from an Equity and Inclusive Development Perspective.” Sustainability Science 15 (2): 503–20.

Authors: Joyeeta Gupta, Joeri Scholtens, Leisa Perch, Irene Dankelman, Joni Seager, Fülöp Sánder, Michael Stanley-Jones, Isabell Kempf


The Driver–Pressure–State–Impact–Response (DPSIR) framework has been used by environmental agencies and others to assess environmental challenges and policy responses. However, in doing so, social justice or equity issues tend to come as an afterthought, while there is evidence that environmental challenges and policy responses are not equity (including gender-) neutral. Hence, this paper addresses the question: why should, and how can, equity issues and environmental justice be incorporated into the DPSIR framework? It presents a structure for including equity within DPSIR and applies it. It reviews the literature to bring together data that demonstrates that there is a clear equity perspective along the entire DPSIR analysis. It concludes that although individual environmental policies may succeed to achieve their specific goal in the short term; if they ignore the equity aspects, the policy strategies as a whole are likely to be environmentally unjust, and lead to exclusive and unsustainable development, which, in turn, could further exacerbate environmental challenges. This highlights the need for an integrated approach in efforts to achieve environmentally sustainable development.

Keywords: DPSIR, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (BESS), equity, gender, environmental justice, inclusive development, environmental challenges, inequality

Topics: Development, Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equity, Justice

Year: 2020

‘The Seas Are Rising and So Are We!’ – A Conversation between Two Women in Extinction Rebellion


Smyth, Ines, and Lucy Walters. 2020. “The Seas Are Rising and So Are We!’ – A Conversation between Two Women in Extinction Rebellion.” Gender & Development 28 (3): 617–35. 

Authors: Ines Smyth, Lucy Walters


Extinction Rebellion (XR) is an international, non-violent movement against the climate and ecological crises that threaten our planet. This article is based on reflections and joint discussions on what it is to be women ‘rebels’ at the grassroots of this movement, utilising the feminist practice of ‘active listening’ to counter women’s experiences of being silenced or ignored. Our point of departure in writing this article was the idea that even in the most progressive movements, structures and dynamics tend to mirror unequal gender relations typical of wider society. Despite our differences in age, background, and experiences as activists, our conversations led us to agree that the values and culture of XR allow us, as women and as feminists, to be comfortable in our skin; to be heard; to be bold in challenging stereotypes, explore and express new and sometimes painful emotions, and push social and personal boundaries. We felt that XR also experiences some challenges: a reluctance to embrace more explicitly ‘climate justice’, an insufficient concern for gender equality as part of its focus on this, and echoes of essentialist links between women and nature.

Extinction Rebellion (XR) est un mouvement international non violent contre les crises climatique et écologique qui menacent notre planète. Cet article se base sur des réflexions et des discussions conjointes sur ce que signifie être des femmes « rebelles » au niveau de la base de ce mouvement, en utilisant la pratique féministe d’« écoute active » pour contrer les expériences des femmes qui ont été réduites au
silence ou ignorées. Notre point de départ lors de la rédaction du présent article était l’idée selon laquelle même les mouvements, les structures et les dynamiques les plus progressistes ont tendance à refléter les relations inégales entre les sexes qui caractérisent la société dans son ensemble. Malgré nos différences d’âge, de milieu et d’expériences en tant qu’activistes, nos conversations nous ont menées à convenir que les valeurs et la culture de XR nous permettent, en tant que femmes et féministes, d’être bien dans notre peau ; de nous faire entendre ; de faire preuve d’audace au moment de mettre en question les stéréotypes, d’explorer et d’exprimer des émotions nouvelles et parfois douloureuses, et de repousser les limites sociales et personnelles. Nous avons aussi constaté que XR est aussi confronté à quelques défis : une réticence à embrasser plus clairement la « justice en matière de climat », trop peu d’intérêt pour l’égalité entre les sexes dans le cadre de son travail dans ce domaine, et des échos de liens essentialistes entre les femmes et la nature.

La organización Extinction Rebellion (XR) es un movimiento internacional no violento que pretende dar respuestas a las crisis climáticas y ecológicas que amenazan nuestro planeta. El presente artículo se
fundamenta en reflexiones y discusiones conjuntas en torno a lo que significa ser mujeres “rebeldes” en la base de este movimiento, utilizando la práctica feminista de la “escucha activa” para contrarrestar las experiencias de las mujeres de ser silenciadas o ignoradas. Al momento de escribir este artículo nuestro punto de partida fue la idea de que, incluso en los movimientos más progresistas, las estructuras y las dinámicas tienden a reflejar las desiguales relaciones de género típicas de la sociedad en general. A pesar de nuestras diferencias de edad, antecedentes y experiencias como activistas, las conversaciones que mantuvimos nos llevaron a acordar que los valores y la cultura de la XR nos permiten, como mujeres y como feministas, estar cómodas tal y como somos; ser escuchadas; ser audaces a la hora de cuestionar los estereotipos, de explorar y expresar emociones nuevas y a veces dolorosas, y de rebasar los límites sociales y personales. Consideramos que la XR también enfrenta algunos desafíos: su renuencia a hacer suya más de manera más explícita la “justicia climática”, la atención insuficiente que presta a la igualdad de género como parte de su enfoque en este tema, así como alguna resonancia en su retórica respecto a los vínculos esencialistas entre mujeres y naturaleza.

Keywords: gender and climate activism, feminism, intergenerational conversations, Extinction Rebellion, climate justice

Topics: Environment, Climate Change, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Justice

Year: 2020

A Two-Step Approach to Integrating Gender Justice into Mitigation Policy: Examples from India


Michael, Kavya, Manish Kumar Shrivastava, Arunima Hakhu, and Kavya Bajaj. 2020. “A Two-Step Approach to Integrating Gender Justice into Mitigation Policy: Examples from India.” Climate Policy 20 (7): 800–14.

Authors: Kavya Michael, Manish Kumar Shrivastava, Arunima Hakhu, Kavya Bajaj


Concerns over social justice cannot be separated from concerns over the environment, and vice-versa. Gender in the climate change literature is predominantly vulnerability and adaptation centric, with a glaring gap in research on understanding the relationship between mitigation and gender justice. Building on the insights from gender justice, environmental justice, and climate justice scholarship, this paper argues that mitigation policy should be conceived not only in terms of transition to a low carbon economy but also as an instrument for enhancing gender justice. To conceptualize such a mitigation policy, we propose a two-step approach, combining the works of Schlosberg, Fraser, and Sen. We argue that, to start with, it is important to identify relevant forms of exclusion, and then, in turn, to identify opportunities for ‘parity of participation’ of women in the mitigation policy cycle. This must be supplemented with identification of, and efforts at, building long-lasting supporting capabilities. Application of the proposed approach is illustrated through three examples from India: the National REDD+ Strategy, the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojna (PMUY) for cleaner fuels, and the International Solar Training Programme (Solar Mamas). We illustrate how the Solar Mamas scheme is closer to the proposed two-step approach and hence better integrates mitigation and gender justice objectives, whereas the REDD+ and the PMUY need revisiting with additional provisions and reconceptualization. The paper suggests that mainstreaming of gender justice into implementation of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement is a promising new field of research.

Keywords: gender justice, gender mainstreaming, mitigation, capability

Topics: Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Gender Mainstreaming, Justice Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India

Year: 2020


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