What is Ecofeminism?

If you are at all familiar with the feminist movement, you’ll know there are many different groups within feminism itself such as “green” or “ecofeminism”. According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, ecofeminism is “a movement or theory that applies feminist principles and ideas to ecological issues”. To some the two ideologies may seem worlds apart, how is one’s gender affected by ecology?

Ecofeminism aims to suggest that the current disregard of environmental needs can be paralleled and linked to the disregard in our society for women and their needs. Many times the health of the environment is forgotten in our pursuit of economic gain, similarly the contributions and recognition of women is also forgotten. The environment and women become extras in the patriarchal production.

Another component of ecofeminism is the idea that women’s bodies are more susceptible to environmental pollution, and that pollutants are not regulated with respect to women’s bodies.  If they were the environment, women and society would be doing much better.  Taking into account that women have a lower body-mass on average, may possibly become pregnant, etc. this idea is feasible. The sceptical scientist in us all is stroking their chin awaiting evidence, but unfortunately there is not nearly enough research testing a wide variety of demographics to answer that definitively.  One paper published in 2008 tested various groups’ vulnerability to ozone pollution and found that aside from the elderly, women and black people were most vulnerable (Medina-Ramon and Schwartz).  However, you can also find papers testing men and women finding non-conclusive results.

Remember, being an ecofeminist does NOT mean you blame men for ruining the environment and if society were matriarchal we would not being have any environmental issues whatsoever. This post is in no way “everything you need to know about ecofeminism”, this is just a tiny definition giving a brief idea of what it is in case you’d be interested. So what do you believe? Are you an ecofeminist?

Reference:

Medina-Ramon, M. and Schwartz, J. 2008. Who is more vulnerable to die from ozone air pollution? Epidemiology. 19: 672-679.

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