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Women Status


Title: Eco-Feminism Author: Zoology Last modified by: Zoology Created Date: 10/7/2009 9:40:03 AM Document presentation format: On-screen Show Other titles – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Women Status

Women Status
  • Womens essential contributions to over all
    environmental health, development and economy are
    negatively influenced by domestic tasks such as
    gathering of fuel wood, biomass for cooking. In
    reality, wood burning, kerosene stove and open
    fireplaces emit significant quantities of known
    health damaging pollutants.

Women Role
  • Women bear almost all responsibility for
    meeting basic needs of the family, yet are
    systematically denied the resources, information
    and freedom of action they need to fulfill this
  • The vast majority of the world poor are women.
    Two third of the worlds illiterates are female.
    Of the million of school age children not in
    school, the majority are girls.
  • And today, AIDS/ HIV is rapidly becoming a
    womens disease.
  • The current world food price crisis is having a
    severe impact on women.

Women Empowerment
  • Effective bottom- up strategies for ending
    hunger and poverty combine three factors
    mobiliging people at the grass root level to
    built self reliance, empowering women as key
    change agents and forging effective partnerships
    with local government in India.

  • Ecofeminism can be defined as a 'value system, a
    social movement and practice...(which) also
    offers a political analysis that explores the
    links between androcentrism and environmental
  • A branch of feminism that unites ecological and
    feminine themes.
  • It represents an important branch of
    environmental ethics- a normal philosophy which
    evaluates right or wrong action of human being
    toward environment.
  • The advocates of this approach state that women,
    because of their biological and their social
    roles, have an innate concern for nature.

  • Through their roles as life-givers (child-
    bearing ) and nurtures, women are closer to
    nature than man.
  • It is emphasized in their approach, that current
    environmental problems will remain unsolved
    unless related feminine qualities (such as caring
    etc) are allowed to mold social life and
  • The eco-feminists want to make free the entire
    nature from the oppression especially from male
    dominated policy making society and state.
  • Their deep concern centres on the problems
    position of poor women especially of there world
  • According to the ecofeminists, one also needs to
    realize the inter-connectedness of all
    life-processes and hence revere nature and all
    life-forms. Humans should not try to control
    nature, but work along with it and must try to
    move beyond power based relationships. This would
    mean integrating the dualisms based on the
    polarization of the male and female in one's
    conception of reality.

Women Possess Power for Change
  • In India, the most visible advocate of
    ecofeminism is Vandana Shiva. One would tend to
    categorize her work with the ecofeminists of the
    radical mode, but her critique of the entire
    development model and its effects on the
    environment, places her more among the
    ecofeminists of the socialist framework.
  • Vandana Shiva (1988) critiques modern science and
    technology as a western, patriarchal and colonial
    project, which is inherently violent and
    perpetuates this violence against women and
    nature. Pursuing this model of development has
    meant a shift away from traditional Indian
    philosophy, which sees prakriti as a living and
    creative process, the 'feminine principle', from
    which all life arises.

  • Under the garb of development, nature has been
    exploited mercilessly and the feminine principle
    was 'no longer associated with activity,
    creativity and sanctity of life but was
    considered passive and as a "resource".' This has
    meant the beginning of the marginalization,
    devaluation, displacement and ultimately the
    dispensability of women.
  • Women's special knowledge of nature and their
    dependence on it for 'staying alive', were
    systematically marginalized under the onslaught
    of modern science. Shiva, however, notes that
    Third World women are not simply 'victims' of the
    development process, but also possess the power
    for change. She points to the experiences of
    women in the Chipko movement of the 1970s in the
    Garhwal Himalayas-where women struggled for the
    protection and regeneration of the forests.

Women-Environment Relations Historically Variable
  • Women, particularly in poor rural households, are
    both victims of environmental degradation as well
    as active agents in movements for the protection
    and regeneration of the environment. They act in
    both positive and negative ways with the
  • The unquestioning acceptance of the woman nature
    link and the idea that since women are most
    severely affected by environmental degradation,
    they have 'naturally' positive attitudes towards
    environmental conservation, is, therefore,
  • The forest and village commons provide a wide
    range of essential items such as food, fuel,
    fodder, manure, building material, medicianal
    herbs, resin, gum, honey and so on, for rural
    households in India as well as in much of Asia
    and Africa. For the poor, village commons (VC)
    are a vital source for fuel and fodder.
    Ninety-one per cent of their firewood needs and
    more than 69 per cent of their fodder needs are
    met by the VCs (Agarwal 92). Access to VCs
    reduces inequalities in income among poor and
    non-poor households.

  • The forest are an important source of livelihood,
    particularly for tribal populations. Studies have
    shown that nearly 30 million people in India
    depend on forests and forest produce to a large
    extent (Kulkarni 1983). The dependence on forests
    is much more during lean agricultural seasons and
    famines or droughts.
  • Class differences are once again highlighted in
    the dependency on and accessibility to water
    resources for irrigation and drinking. While, for
    a large percentage of poorer households, water is
    used directly from rivers and streams, richer
    households sink deep wells and tubewells and tap
    groundwater for drinking and irrigation

  • The growing degradation of natural resources,
    both qualitatively and quantitatively, the
    increasing appropriation by the state and by
    private individuals, as well as the decline in
    communally-owned property, have been primarily
    responsible for the increased class-gender
    effects of environmental degradation. Besides,
    the decline in 'community resource management
    systems, the increase in population arid the
    mechanization of agriculture, resulting in the
    erosion of local knowledge systems have
    aggravated the class-gender implications of
    environmental degradation' (Agarwal 1992).
  • With the disappearance of forests, VCs, shortage
    of drinking water and so on, women have to spend
    more time and walk longer distances to get fuel,
    fodder, food and water. Drying up or pollution of
    wells accessible to lower-caste women has meant
    an increase dependence on upper-caste women to
    dole out water to them. This has increased the
    burden on women and young girls and has even led
    to increasing cases of suicide among them
    (Bagaguna 84 Shiva 88).

  • The degradation of forests and the historical
    and ongoing malpractices and state policies and
    increasing privatization have restricted the
    access of villagers to forests and VCs which has
    directly resulted in reduced incomes. The extra
    time spent in gathering has reduced the time
    available to women for crop production, where
    they are the main cultivators, as in the hill
    regions due to high male outmigration (Agarwal
  • The little that women earned through selling
    firewood is also reduced due to deforestation.
    This has a direct impact on the diets of poor
    households. The decline in the availability of
    fruits, berries and so on, as well as firewood,
    has forced people of poor households to shift to
    less nutritious food or eat half-cooked meals or
    even reduce the number of meals eaten per day.
  • The existing gender biases within the family lead
    to women and female children getting secondary
    treatment with regard to food and health care.
    Given the kind of tasks poor rural women do, such
    as working in the rice fields, fetching water,
    washing clothes, etc., they are more exposed to
    water-borne diseases and to polluted water bodies
    (Mencher and Sardamoni 1982). It is also women
    who are mainly responsible for the care of the
    sick within the family.

Material Base of Women's Knowledge Declining
  • The displacement of people due to large dams, or
    large-scale deforestation, etc., has led to the
    disruption of social support networks within and
    between villages. Women, particularly of poor,
    rural households, who depend to a large extent on
    such networks for economic and social support,
    are adversely affected (Sharma 1980). It has also
    eroded a whole way of life and resulted in
    alienation and helplessness (Fernandes and Menon
  • Old people and widows or deserted women are most
    neglected. The dominant forms of development have
    led to a devaluation and marginalization of
    women's indigenous knowledge and skills which
    they have acquired through their everyday
    interaction with nature. Simultaneously, they are
    not trained to use the new technologies and are
    excluded from the planning process. With
    degradation and privatization of natural
    resources, the material base of women's knowledge
    is declining.
  • The Ecological Marxists, influenced by Marxist
    philosophy see the unequal access to resources as
    the basic problem in society. They are most
    closely identified with People's Science
    Movements and are now advocating environmental
    protection. They are against tradition and
    emphasize confrontational movements. For them
    modern science is indispensable for building a
    new society. Falling between these two streams
    are the Appropriate Technologists. With regard to
    modern science, they are pragmatic, arguing for a
    synthesis of traditional and modern technological
    knowledge systems. Though they recognize the
    existence of socio-economic hierarchies, they do
    not clearly tackle them.

Active involvement of Women in Chipko Movement
  • The emergence of the Indian environmental
    movement can perhaps be dated to 1973, when the
    famous Chipko movement began in the central
  • The Chipko movement emerged as a protest against
    the granting of permission for access to the
    forests to commercial timber operators, while the
    local people were refused access to the forests
    for making agricultural implements.
  • The movement, which spread rapidly to other
    villages, saw the active involvement of women.
    They worked jointly with the men of their
    community and in some cases even against them,
    when they differed with them over the use of
    forest resources.
  • Women were more concerned with the long term gain
    of saving the forests and environment and hence,
    subsistence and survival issues, rather than the
    short-term gain through commercial projects like
    monoculture forests, potato-seed farms, etc.
  • The scope of the movement broadened and involved
    issues of male alcoholism, domestic violence,
    women's representation in village councils, as
    well as against mining in the hills.
  • It helped women recognize the inter-connections
    between nature and human sustenance. The movement
    was carried forward largely by women using
    Gandhian techniques of protest.

Women's Participation in Movements of Sixties and
  • In the first phase of their movement in the
    pre-Independence era, women were mainly involved
    with the national liberation struggle.
  • Women's organization essentially focused on
    constitutional equality and amendments to Hindu
  • With the achievement of independence, a period of
    lull ensured.
  • The mid-sixties witnessed general discontent and
    displeasure in society, especially among the
    youth jand the working class.
  • All over India, in the mid-sixties and early
    seventies, there were student protests,
    anti-price rise morchas, tribal revolts, the
    Naxalbari movement and so on.
  • Women participated in large numbers in these
    movements. As a result of the mid-sixties'
    crisis, the 1970s witnessed a resurgence of the
    women's movement.
  • A number of autonomous women's groups emerged
    that questioned the development plans and
    policies and put forward gender equality as an
    operative principle.

  • Some of the major debates that engaged the
    women's movement were issues of women's
    oppression, violence against women, the campaign
    for women's rights that challenged the dichotomy
    between public and private sphere and the social,
    cultural, economic and political manifestations
    of 'gender'.
  • The debate over growth, development and equity
    isues from a woman's perspective have thrown new
    light on the dimensions and causes of gender
  • The women-and-development innovations on women's
    work and income, effects of migration, increase
    in female headed households, exploitative
    conditions in the unorganized sector and in the
    free trade zone industries (Banerjee 1991
    Kalpagam 1994), impact of environmental
    degradation, and so on. Issues of peripheral
    groups of tribals, poor, landless, rural and
    urban women also gained recognition.
  • This led to an extended debate over what
    constituted 'work' and 'non-work'. Whether
    housework was to be considered 'productive' and
    whether women were exploited and oppressed within
    the household. Discussions have also begun over
    the origins and development of women's oppression.

Women In The Field Of Environmental Sciences
  • Women's participation in the formulation,
    planning and execution of environmental policy
    continues to be low. At the same time, the
    international community has recognized that
    without women's full participation, sustainable
    development cannot be achieved.
  • Women have a key role to play in preserving the
    environment and natural resources, and in
    promoting sustainable development. For example,
    women still have the main responsibility for
    meeting household needs and are therefore a major
    force in determining consumption trends.
  • As the women play a leading role in all the
    household affairs of a family, which is based on
    the family values. It is no wonder that the women
    are outstanding and able to glorify all the
    national, religious, economic, education, health,
    cultural fields as they are born of and brought
    up in the society which gives honors to them.
  • As such, women have an essential role to play in
    the development of sustainable and ecologically
    sound consumption and production patterns.

Role in prevention of health hazards from
environmental pollution
  • As every one knows all the activities of any
    household started with women from morning to
  • They play the keystone role in dealing the air,
    water, soil, living creature and all above the
    environment as a whole.
  • As we are very sensitive to the various kinds of
    environmental pollutions like water, air, soil
    and noise pollution.
  • And these kinds of pollutions invite the several
    kinds of diseases like food poisoning, bacterial,
    fungal and viral attack and several kinds of
    carcinogenic problems.
  • The famous women in this are Amita Devi, Maneka
    Gandhi, Medha Patekar, Arundhati Royand, Rachel
    Carson and many more.

Environmental planning
  • Environmental planning is a field of study that
    since the 1970s has been concerned with a given
    society's collective stewardship over its
    resources that ultimately includes those of the
    entire planet.
  • The aims of environmental planning are to
    integrate the public sector urban planning with
    the concerns of environmentalism to ensure
    sustainable development, notably of air, water,
    soil and rock resources.
  • Planning seeks to include into consideration for
    future growth of society factors other than those
    urban planners have traditionally factored in
    economic development, such as transportation,
    sanitation, and other services in legislator
    decisions, by working with environmental planners
    to add sustainable (social, ecological equity)
    outcomes as important factors in the
    decision-making process.

Elements of environmental planning
  • What exactly constitutes the "environment",
    however, is somewhat open to debate among these
    practitioners, as is the exact scope of the
    intended environmental benefits. Chief concerns
    among environmental planners include the
    encouragement of sustainable development, equity,
    environmental justice, green building
    technologies, and the preservation of
    environmentally sensitive areas.
  • The primary concern of environmental planning is
    expressed in the assessment of three spheres of
    environmental impact by human economic activity
    and technological output
  • Biophysical environment
  • Socio-economic environment
  • Built environment
  • The environmental planning assessments encompass
    areas such as land use, socio-economics,
    transportation, economic and housing
    characteristics, air pollution, noise pollution,
    the wetlands, habitat of the endangered species,
    flood zones susceptibility, coastal zones
    erosion, and visual studies among others, and is
    referred to as an Integrated environmental
    planning assessment.

  • An objective view of the environmental planning
    process is often framed in perspectives offered
    by the integration of assessments of the natural
    resources, the environment as a system, the
    scientific perspective, and the social scientific
  • As with other forms of planning, the processes in
    environmental planning include distinct facets of
    organisational activity such as
  • Legislative planning framework
  • Administrative planning framework
  • Environmental resource management planning
  • Landscape ecological planning
  • Ecological urban planning
  • Environmental planning information dissemination
  • Decision making in environmental planning
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