‘Gender and climate change’: from impacts to discourses

Date: December 13, 2011
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Whereas the concepts of class, poverty and race make regular appearances in social scientific analyses of global climate change, the same cannot be said for gender. A survey of the academic literature suggests that there is a lack of research into the many gender dimensions of climate change. The small amount of gender-sensitive work that exists has been carried out by gender, environment and development (GED) researchers working for the UN and non-governmental organisations who focus almost exclusively on the material impacts of climate change on vulnerable women in the Global South. In this paper I make two arguments about the current state of research on gender and climate change. First, I argue that although the GED research makes many important contributions to our understanding of the politics of climate change, it also contributes to an unnecessarily narrow understanding of gender, a fixation on ‘impacts’ that are material and measurable, and the view of women in the developing world, particularly those living in countries of the Indian Ocean Region, as victims of ecological crisis. Second, in response to these shortcomings, I argue for the development of a deeper gender analysis where materialist informed empirical research on women is complemented by critical feminist theorising of the discursive constructions and categories that shape climate politics today.

Year of Publication: 17 December 2010
Download : 13702_gender_and_climate_change-from_impacts_to_discourse.pdf

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