Gender clearly has a part in environmental degradation and the health of our natural resources: as to who is affected, who can do what, and how we can move forward. The UN Environment Program expresses itself concisely, stating: “As a result of existing inequities, environmental conditions have a variety of effects on the lives of women and men all over the world. Gender roles frequently result in variations in how men and women conduct in connection to the environment, as well as how men and women are enabled or inhibited from participating as environmental change agents.” There is one particular school of thought that emphasizes women when it comes to applying a gendered lens to climate change and environmental issues: ecofeminism.
The concept of ecofeminism emerged in the 1970s, coinciding with the anti-nuclear proliferation movement and the beginnings of green political activism. It links environmental degradation to women’s exploitation and lack of empowerment. Professor Mary Mellor, a UK academic defines ecofeminism as, “a movement that sees a connection between the exploitation and degradation of the natural world and the subordination and oppression of women… Ecofeminism brings together elements of the feminist and green movements, while at the same time offering a challenge to both.”
Essentially, ecofeminism finds a link between substantial environmental degradation to the planet and women’s oppression. However, depending on the type of ecofeminist you are, that one relationship might take many different shapes.
One kind of ecofeminism carries it to its logical conclusion, claiming that women are seen in the same way as natural resources: as something to be seized, plundered, or exploited. According to activist Ynestra King, “We consider the corporate warriors’ destruction of the planet and her beings, as well as the military warriors’ danger of nuclear annihilation, as feminist concerns. It is the masculinist mindset that would deny us our right to our own bodies and sexuality, relying on numerous systems of dominance and governmental authority to succeed.” This is radical ecofeminism’s point of view: women and the environment are both exploited by patriarchal dominant forces, who are perceived as bringing order and stability to the world.
But there’s another viewpoint: Cultural ecofeminism – it portrays the relationship between nature and women as empowering, depicting our gender as inextricably linked to the environment and natural processes through menstruation and delivery. This viewpoint asserts that humans are better positioned to take action when it comes to feeling the genuine effects of environmental devastation and doing something about it. “Some ecofeminists consider the bond between woman and nature as empowering, while others say it is imposed by patriarchy and is humiliating,” said researcher Leigh Brammer. Cultural ecofeminism is the first belief, and radical ecofeminism is the second.
Ecofeminism in India
Vandana Shiva, an Indian ecofeminist, is credited with laying the groundwork for ecofeminism, believing that women have always had the key to solving different societal problems, including environmental issues.
Eco-feminism is supposed to have initially appeared in India with the Chipko Movement in 1974, according to conventional wisdom. Many, however, disagree, seeing it as a peasant movement led by a guy named Sunderlal Bahuguna. Another man, Chandi Prasad Bhatt, raised awareness of the inhabitants’ rights, and the women of Uttarakhand played a significant part in organizing protests against the wood mafia that was destroying the hills for a long time. The movement, which has since been linked to the history of peasant protests, was unique in that it mostly involved women, who were headed by Gaura Devi of the Gram Mahila Mandal, a local leader who took up the subject of women’s rights.
The tangible reality of caste, class, and gender must be accounted for in women’s interactions and relationships with nature. Women are victims of environmental disasters, but they may also be powerful agents of environmental regeneration, as seen by the Chipko Movement’s success. The urgent need is to channel them into a legitimate channel, to give ecofeminism a proper voice and a proper path so that it does not devolve into a shallow scream. For an effective collective movement in India, it is also necessary to dismantle the class and caste system. The destruction of indigenous knowledge and livelihood practices on which impoverished, rural women rely reflects the negative class-caste consequences on women’s relationships with the environment.
Ecofeminism is a feminist lens on the very real relationship between gender and environmental challenges, no matter how you perceive it. Environmental deterioration is unquestionably a feminist issue, and it requires the active participation of empowered, educated women to succeed in safeguarding communities and preventing future significant degradation.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN PARTICIPATING IN THE SAME, DO LET ME KNOW.
The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.
If you would also like to contribute to my website, then do share your articles or poems at firstname.lastname@example.org