Women & The Environment


The discussion around women and the environment has always been prevalent, and nowhere is it more significant than in the Ecofeminism movement. Ecofeminism was first coined in the 1974 essay ‘Le Féminisme ou la Mort’, by French feminist writer Francoise d’Eaubonne, and it is defined by Mary Mellor as ‘a movement that sees the connection between the exploitation and degradation of the natural world, and the subordination and oppression of women’.

This ‘connection’ is often viewed as patriarchal control, which seeks to benefit only a small group of people, thus subjugating and harming not only women and other minority groups, but the earth itself. This movement is often referred to as ‘The Greta Thunberg Effect’, as a young, activist girl, questioned and critiqued on all sides by old, white, powerful men, perfectly showcases the need for both feminism and environmental awareness. And whilst Greta Thunberg’s name is among the most known, there are countless women all over the globe actively challenging a patriarchal outlook on the exploitation of nature. For instance, peaceful protests have always been preferred by women’s movements, and we can see this in protests against deforestation, such as the 1973 Chipko movement in India.

The entwinement of feminism and environmental issues, therefore, while initially seeming vague, is perfectly apt, as it views both issues as stemming from the shared problem of selfish, materialistic patriarchal control. Subsequently, both could arguably be remedied, if not eradicated, by the erasure of not only the patriarchal system, but of the patriarchal mindset.

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