Dr. Shirley Thompson -Natural Resources Institute
204‑474‑7170  |  s_thompson@umanitoba.ca

Environmental Justice and Gender Issues

I take the definition of environmental justice to mean “the right to equal treatment, which is to the same distribution of goods and opportunities as anyone else has or is given” (Dworkin, 1977).  This environmental justice framework includes social, procedural and corrective justice. Environmental justice considers power issues related to race, class, and gender in the distributions of “goods” (e.g., water and housing infrastructure, fishing licenses, employment) and “bads” (e.g., pollution, crime), as well as who decides public policy and regulation and its outcomes.

Gender Issues

Gender refers to the roles of women and men in a given culture, and their relationship to each other.  Our social identities as men and women are socially constructed rather than based on the biological differentiation between male and female. In most societies, women and men have different roles, which result in their having different needs, livelihoods and interests.  Awareness of these differences helps us understand the relative position of women and men in a society, in the division of responsibilities and resources, benefits and rights, power and privilege and then to change them. A gender perspective assumes that the roles of women and men are interdependent, so that one cannot change without changing the other. Roles of women and men will look different in different places and cultures, and over time. They are affected by context, and by which women and men we are talking about (class, age, caste, religion, ethnicity, etc).
Concerns regarding gender relations in development and sustainable livelihoods have strengthened the affirmation that equality in the status of men and women is fundamental to every society. We realize that to create opportunities for people to earn sustainable livelihoods requires the creation of an environment conducive for men and women to seize those opportunities that give equal access to education for boys and girls and good governments that give men and women equal voices in decision-making and policy implementation. As gender matters in planning for sustainable livelihoods, it is important to reexamine and redefine development and sustainable livelihood concerns and objectives.

As women comprise more than half of humanity, they are central to the economy and the environment as well as the social well-being of societies. Gender inequality is an ambiguous and multi-faceted concept, and its manifestations include cultural, social, legal, political and economic dimensions. However, inadequate attention is often given to the context in which gender differentials are being measured, particularly in regard to such concerns as mental stress and violence. It is widely accepted that violence against women is a universal phenomenon and an important indicator of unequal gender relations. Women’s subordination is at the core of this – but the causes or sources of that subordination vary widely.

Here are some pictures of a Gender Workshop:

Gender Equity importance for sustainable development and achieving the millenium development goals:

Gender Issues Workshop - BEGCB Project - Part 1

Gender Issues Workshop - BEGCB Project - Part 2

Gender Issues Workshop - BEGCB Project - Part 3

Gender Issues Workshop - BEGCB Project - Part 4