Women at the forefront of the fight for the environment

Women play an essential role in defending the environment around the world.

Women in a march

In recent decades this commemoration has had a political and social turn. Photo: Pixabay

LatinAmerican Post | Vanesa López Romero

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Leer en español: Mujeres a la cabeza de la lucha por el medio ambiente

The feminist struggle

March 8 is the International Day of Working Women, and in recent decades this commemoration has taken a political and social turn. Although some time ago it was common for women to be celebrated by their families on this day, now it seeks to make visible the work of women and the gender violence to which they have been exposed throughout the history of humanity. It also seeks that both individuals, society and institutions generate policies and actions that are equitable with women and that, above all, recognize the violence, inequality, oppression and injustice to which they have been exposed for decades . Thus, since 2018, this day is known as 8M , because in that year several organizations and feminist groups called marches and protests around the world in order to draw attention to this.

This social movement has not been isolated from others, since it has precisely been sought to apply intersectionality, with which each individual is aware of their privileges and of the oppressions and discriminations to which they are subjected in order to actively participate in a struggle that takes into account other social categories, such as race, sexual orientation, class, ethnicity or disability. 8M is celebrated on Working Women's Day, and we must not forget that fighting for the conservation of the environment is a job that is also worthy.

The environmental fight

For the UN, women in developing countries are the first people to respond to environmental crises and the management of natural resources. They are also the first to feel the effects of climate change. "Although environmental degradation has serious consequences for all human beings, it affects, in particular, the most vulnerable sectors of society, mainly women," says the organization. According to an OHCHR report , domestic violence increased substantially after a natural disaster.

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However, the recognition that has been given to women who are victims of environmental deterioration and those who are at the forefront of the environment has been minimal or even nil, which perpetuates machismo and inequality. In recent years, women have sought to make the consequences of this visible and claim their leadership in the fight for the environment.

An example of this is ecofeminism, a movement that, according to Mary Mellor, "sees a connection between the exploitation and degradation of the natural world and the subordination and oppression of women." This emerged in the 70s and its premise is to direct the feminist struggle from an ecological point of view, highlighting the role that women play in taking political actions for the protection of the environment.

In the framework of the 8M celebration, it is very necessary to question the links between gender oppression and the violation of the environment, as well as the markedly patriarchal, capitalist, and colonialist systems. Now more than ever the fight for the environment must be led by women and their important participation in it must be recognized.