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The Rise of the Ecofeminism Movement: Misogyny and Democracy

The Rise of the Ecofeminism Movement: Misogyny and Democracy By Oladosu Adenike Titilope

on the 24th of March, 2023, I gave a moving presentation on how the climate crisis fuels gender inequality from the African lens. citing an example of how the I Lead Climate Action Initiative is setting the pace for climate action in closing the existential threats toward achieving gender equality. Here is the summary of my presentation.

Read below:

Photo Credit: Praagna Kashyal

There has been a long-standing norm that was a derivative of the industrial revolution that requires women to be responsible for housework which restricts our opportunities toward connecting with nature. One such report from the daily reality of women and girls in my region in Africa and beyond. In Sub-Saharan Africa alone, women spend 40 billion hours in a year to get water; almost the equivalent of a year’s worth of labor by the entire laborers in the United States of America. Likewise, globally, women spend 200 million hours in a day getting water and firewood. When the hours are converted to years, it means 22,800 years while in days; it implies 8.3 million days. These are the existential gaps that the I Lead Climate Action Initiative are working on through the creation of access to a resource that women and girls do not have to strengthen their rights of women and girls. This large time constraint shows the multidimensional role the climate crisis plays in amplifying gender inequality combined with the sociocultural stereotype that affects women's participation in environmental protection and conservation efforts. This is an indication of the fragilities that lie in modern-day democracy. The more the impact of the climate crisis, the more women are disconnected from nature. This is why democracy needs to be inclusive.


But then, before I knew what gender equality means, I knew that there is a systemic imbalance that suppresses the rights of women and girls in our society, I mean every society. And the question is how do we deal with it? Or phase out gender inequality. I was in primary school and my seatmate, who is a boy, believes women's education should end in the kitchen or at home even though he went further to say that his wife and sisters' education will end in the kitchen as well. But I protested against it immediately because I knew something did not sit well with such a statement and women could be more than just relegated to the kitchen or at home. I told him that my education will not end in the kitchen nor should any girl's education end in the kitchen. The “debate” went on, I was not ready to give up on my stand and he stopped talking but such a scenario showed me how misogynistic people can be and I guess. Similarly, in the climate justice movement, some male folks think recycling, and switching off the light; are too feminine things and not applicable to them. There is no rule in the climate justice movement that segregates climate solutions from men. Every climate action applies to both genders.

Yet, the enslavement of nature with the growth in the industrial revolution and capitalism places a greater burden on women and girls. In the pre-industrial era, women held the responsibility for housework but were carried out with dignity and without any effect on the status of women in society. We need not normalize activities that place women and girls at the center of the climate crisis whilst we bear the lowest carbon footprint.

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