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It is not about women being above men. Here we tell you everything you should know about ecofeminism
At the end of the 70s and the beginning of the 80s, when the second wave of feminism took place, ecofeminism emerged. This movement was established with the objective of obtaining justice for women and stopping the exploitation of the environment and natural resources.
Leer en español: Qué es ecofeminismo y por qué deberías conocerlo
As its name implies, ecofeminism combines feminism and environmentalism. This interesting mix results in those who practice ecofeminism advocating for a less polluted environment and more proportional hierarchical relationships to reach a social and environmental balance.
What is ecofeminism
Unlike what many may believe, ecofeminism is not about positioning women over men in power relations, much less about putting men in a secondary role in society. On the contrary, it is about both men and women understanding that our roles in society determine our actions and this in turn determines our relationship with the environment.
In statements collected by EFE, Alicia Puleo, Doctor in Philosophy, explains that "the deepest objective of the ecofeminist philosophy is a redefinition of the human being that implies a redefinition of other living beings to inhabit the Earth more peacefully". That is, to have a role consistent with the ecological crisis the planet faces and to be aware of what we do and how we can improve the situation based on our gender identity.
"I do not believe that women have a naturally predetermined mission, but that men and women are nature and culture. There is not an ecologist in every woman. Our position in society and our history as a socially constructed gender explain to a large extent the attitude of caring for life", says Puleo.
Being aware that the environment is impacted by our actions and that we do it in different ways depending on if we are men women, another concern of ecofeminism is the health consequences of climate change, pollution, among others, in subjects and vulnerable beings. Ecofeminism also focuses on the role played by women as defenders of resources and territories that resist harmful practices such as mega mining.
Why you should know it
The ecological crisis can affect men, women, children, animals, and plants in different ways. Respiratory diseases derived from pollution, among others, tend to have a greater impact on women and children. Furthermore, Puleo says that "numerous studies indicate that agrotoxins present in food and in the dioxins of incinerators affect us more to women than to men."
Additionally, women are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer because fine particles - such as PM 2.5 - that pollute the air cause them to have a higher breast density that results in malignant tumors. The scientific publisher BioMed Central states that women with higher breast density had been exposed to pollution.
Ecofeminism takes into consideration that women are susceptible to developing diseases as a result of pollution and environmental degradation, such as breast cancer. In the same way, it considers that vulnerbal beings exist and that they suffer negative impacts by the ecological crisis, like the animals, the plants, the trees, etc.
In this sense, ecofeminism is a social movement that advocates treatment and fairer relations for women and the environment, taking into account the role that each one plays in society. It does not want to reduce men, but it seeks that all subjects are aware that from being men and being women there is a direct impact on the environment and as such we must act. Moreover, in this equation we must consider the context in which we find ourselves, since it is not the same to be an urban person as a rural one.
- Françoise d'Eaubonne (1920-2005, Paris), a French writer and feminist, she was the one who coined the term "écoféminisme".
- Wangari Maathai (1940-2011-Kenya). Political activist and Kenyan ecologist. Maathai is the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. The award was given for "her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace" after founding the women's movement 'Kenya Green Belt'. This movement was responsible for the planting of millions of trees in Africa.
- Carol Adams (1951, USA), American writer, feminist, and defender of animal rights.
- Petra Kelly (1947-1992) writer and activist. Co-founder of the Alemane Greens.
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LatinAmerican Post | Marcela Peñaloza
Translated from "Qué es el ecofeminismo y por qué deberías conocerlo"