Introduction to gender and environment

Why explore the linkages between gender and environment? Historical context for the current discourse on gender and environment, e.g., the degradation of ecosystems, loss of biodiversity, pollution, resource depletion, the failure of western development to meet basic needs in the South, and the proliferation of waste and overconsumption in the North, the global women's movement, the environmental movement, and the development of women's, gender, and environmental studies within the academy.

Basic concepts in gender analysis:

Gender division of labour, patriarchal ideology, gender inequality, androcentrism. Basic concepts in ecology: ecosystems, interconnection, diversity, sustainability.

Emerging perspectives on gender and environment:

What is the relationship between Woman and Nature in western thought? Is the domination of women and nature rooted in patriarchal ideology? Feminist critiques of science and western concepts of "development." How does the gender division of labour structure relations to the natural world?

Women in the two-thirds world: environmental degradation and the struggle for survival:

The Green Revolution and its impacts on food production. Cash crop production, appropriation and degradation of land. How does environmental degradation affect the daily lives of poor women? What difference does class and gender make?

Women, water, fuel and forest resources. The gender division of labour and environmental impacts on women's work. Women's traditional ecological knowledge. Poverty, survival, and women's roles in maintaining the means of sustenance.

Dialogues with and within ecological feminism:

How do women engaged in environmental action define themselves? What can we learn from ecofeminist perspectives on gender and environment? What are the major weaknesses of ecofeminist theory and practice?

Political action and cultural transformation:

Ecofeminist politics, ethics, and spirituality. Issues in cultural transformation and cultural appropriation. Greenham Common, Chipko Movement, Kenya Green Belt Movement, World Women's Congress for a Healthy Planet, local stories of women and environmental action.

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