Climate justice, gender and intersectionality

Authored by: Patricia E. Perkins

Routledge Handbook of Climate Justice

Print publication date:  November  2018
Online publication date:  November  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138689350
eBook ISBN: 9781315537689
Adobe ISBN:


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Women are generally more vulnerable than men to environmental disasters and extreme weather events due to four main factors, which are related to women’s gendered roles in society: (a) women are economically disadvantaged in comparison to men and are more likely to live in poverty; (2) sexual and reproductive health and physical demands on their bodies during pregnancy, child-bearing and rearing and menopause put them at special risk; (3) their lives tend to be longer and they spend more time as seniors/widows, with resulting economic and health implications; and (4) their social options are restricted so that they often fill paid and unpaid roles related to physical and emotional caring that put them at special risk of environmental injustice. This means that environmental and climate injustice are gendered in both rich and poor countries, and this can be manifested in a variety of ways: housing, transportation, food insecurity, stress, mental illness, disability, heat exposure, interruptions of electricity and water services, violence against women, partner and elder violence, toxic exposure, health vulnerability, worker safety, political voice/agency/leadership and many others. Gender also intersects with other categories of vulnerability such as ethnicity, “race,” sexuality, dis/ability, etc. to heighten climate risk and injustice. The gendered effects of extreme weather events are often not disaggregated in government statistics and research literature, and an explicit gender focus, including attention to the access of women and marginalised people to participation in climate policy setting, has been minimal. Both at the local level and globally, climate change adaptation and response initiatives can downplay or suppress democratic, equity-enhancing politics.

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