Gender, climate, environment

Does climate change affect women more than men? Who profits more from digitalisation? Sociologist Professor Martina Padmanabhan and Development Economist Professor Michael Grimm have founded a European network of excellence on Feminist Political Ecology that carefully examines gender relations in the responses to environmental challenges.

In a nutshell:

  • Feminist Political Ecology (FPE) is a specification of Political Ecology, which is interested in power relations, in environmental and social processes. FPE sees gender as a critical concept determining access to and control of resources, in combination with other concepts such as class, caste, race, culture and ethnicity.
  • Climate change impacts on women more than men, said Professor Grimm. ‘Men and women have different levels of access to resources, land titles, technology, capital and education. This affects their ability to respond to external shocks – which is precisely what climate change is.’
  • Gender is not the only factor that decides who benefits from digitalisation. ‘Here we need to differentiate a bit further: class, race and ethnicity all have a role in determining whether people have access to digital services in general and which specific services they have access to’, said Professor Padmanabhan.
  • Men and women have different environmental concerns. ‘Men tend to be more profit-oriented, while women are more concerned with ensuring good and safe nutrition at home’, said Professor Grimm.

About project WEGO and the Passau team of researchers

Sociologist Professor Martina Padmanabhan and Development Economist Professor Michael Grimm, both from the University of Passau, are co-founders of a network that brings together some of the most prominent internationally known feminist political ecologists. Universities in Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, Sweden and Italy participate at the WEGO-network. WEGO stands for ‘Well-being, Ecology, Gender and cOmmunity’.

The researchers investigate how gender relations are reflected in policy measures adopted as a reaction to to climate and environmental change. The project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 764908.

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