Honour nature, honour women!
If you are a male, you may be confused by the caption of this story.
You might ask me, What’s women got to do with Nature? I would say, A
lot. Let me explain.
Have you heard the term ecofeminism? It is a movement that sees a
connection between the exploitation and degradation of the natural world
and the subordination and oppression of women. It emerged in the
mid-1970s alongside second-wave feminism and the green movement.
Ecofeminism brought together elements of both these movements, while at
the same time offering a challenge to both.
A protest rally against the gender discrimination
It takes from the green movement a concern about the impact of human
activities on the non-human world and from feminism the view of nature
as gendered in ways that exploit and oppress women.
Vandana Shiva- Indian physicist and environmental activist- makes it
clear that one of the missions of ecofeminism is to redefine how
societies look at productivity and activity of both women and nature
that have mistakenly been deemed passive, allowing for them both to be
abused and ill-used.
For example, she draws a picture of a stream in a forest. According
to her, in our society it is perceived as unproductive if it is simply
there, fulfilling the needs for water of women’s families and
communities, until engineers come along and tinker with it, perhaps
damming it and using it for generating hydropower.
The same is true of a forest unless it is planted with a monoculture
plantation of a commercial species. A forest may very well be
productive, protecting groundwater, creating oxygen, allowing villagers
to harvest fruit, fuel, and craft materials, and creating a habitat for
animals that are also a valuable resource.
However, for many, if it isn’t for export or contribution to GDP,
without a dollar value attached, it cannot be seen as a productive
There are many elements that need to go into an eco-feminist culture
for a just and sustainable planet. First of all, we need to discover our
actual reality as latecomers to the planet.
The world of nature, plants and animals existed billions of years
before we came on the scene. Nature does not need us to rule over it,
but runs itself very well and better without us. We are indeed the
parasites on the food chain of life, consuming more and more, and
putting too little back to restore and maintain the life system that
What we urgently need today is to recognize our utter dependence on
the great life-producing matrix of the planet in order to learn to
reintegrate our human systems of production, consumption and waste into
the ecological patterns by which nature sustains life.
How should we begin? First of all, all sexist assumptions of the
superiority of males over females and humans over animals and plants
must be culturally discarded. But it is not enough simply to humbly
acknowledge dependency. The pattern of male-female inter-dependency
itself has to be reconstructed socially, creating more equitable sharing
in the work and the fruits of work.
This means, not simply allowing women more access to public culture,
but converting males to an equal share in the tasks of child-nurture and
Ecofeminists say, no more waiting’... Around the world, cultures and
natural resources are plundered, so that 20 percent of the world’s
population can continue to consume 80 percent of its resources in the
name of progress.
We are in a state of emergency and let’s do something about it now...
The critical question of both justice and survival is how to pull
back from the present disastrous course and remake our relations with
each other and with the earth.