Daily media coverage shows that, to this day, women are treated by society as second-class individuals, especially women of color. Another issue that is still a bit too recurrent in the news, especially in Brazil, is the lack of care for the environment, and where that could lead us to.
The many waves and branches of feminism and the green movement have tried to put an end to these problems, and have indeed made things much better, but the situation still does not make us envision a good future for humanity, especially for women. One branch of feminism that brings together women of all different types and has the potential to actually make a change today is Ecofeminism, an alternative movement that you should get to know.
Ecofeminism, or ecological feminism, is a branch of feminism that examines connections between the exploitation of the natural world and the oppression of women. The movement values the basic ideals of equality between the genders and the reevaluation of patriarchal societies whilst adding to it a view of the world that respects holistic connections between people and the earth, valuing intuition and collaboration towards a society that works along with nature.
Ecofeminists take from the feminist and green movements and work towards a view of humanity seen through a gendered lens, taking into account the ways both nature and women have been treated by a patriarchal society, remembering how humanity is absolutely dependent on the natural world. They advocate that society, including the green and feminist movement themselves, tend to have an incomplete view of the world, and so different groups should work together towards a society aware of its surroundings.
Emerging in the 1970s, the movement was coined by French thinker Fraçoise d’Eaubonne, who realized that “it is urgent to underline the death sentence by this system in convulsive agony and of the whole planet and its human species.” She remembered that if feminism frees women of the horrors of the patriarchy but not humanity as a whole today, there will not be any humanity left tomorrow.
Early ecofeminists worked by conducting research in order to find what connects women and nature, to then dismantle the oppression to which both are subject. They came to the conclusion that women and nature were often depicted as chaotic, irrational, and in need of control, while men were rational and therefore had the right to use women and nature for their own development. In response to that reality, they determined that solving either one of those sides of the problem required undoing the status quo of both of them, and so they started promoting respect for women and the natural world equally, towards the emancipation of both.
But what could ecofeminism do for us today? Perhaps at the time of its emergence, the impacts of climate change, especially upon women, could not yet be measured, but today they can: according to the CARE international report, poor women are 14 times more likely to die from climate disasters than men, as they suffer disproportionately from lack of resources and climate-related poverty. Traditional gender roles condition women to activities related to the home, limiting opportunities of rising economically through a lack of access to education and health care. Placing the environmental and feminist causes close together can shed a light upon solutions to both issues, exposing the disproportional impacts of climate change upon women, and understanding how elevating women to the same status as men can help the environment, issues, and solutions that should be brought to the political spectrum of society, inciting actual change within the practical world.