Women, Power, and Development

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From the Asia Sentinel, this article:  Do Women in Power Act Differently From Men?  Here an excerpt:

Several studies of women’s involvement in environmental protection cited below seem to indicate that they do – marginally. How that plays itself out across the wider spectrum of politics and business remains to be seen. * * * A series of studies came to these conclusions:

• Countries with higher female parliamentary representation are more likely to set aside protected land areas, according to a 2009 study of 25 developed and 65 developing countries by Colleen Nugent and John M. Shandra, titled State Environmental Protection Efforts, Women’s Status, and World Polity: a Cross-National Analysis. However, why this result came about was not clear.

• Countries with higher female parliamentary representation are more likely to ratify international environmental treaties, according to a study of 130 countries with 92 percent of the world’s people. (Kari Norgaard and John M. York, Gender Equality and State Environmentalism, 2005).

• Of the 49 countries that reduced carbon dioxide emissions between 1990 and 2007, 14 were very high HDI (Human Development Index) countries, 10 of which had higher than average female parliamentary representation.

• But women continue to be underrepresented in national parliaments, on average occupying only 19 percent of seats and accounting for just 18 percent of ministers, according to a study, Women in National Parliaments, by the International Parliamentary Union. Higher positions are even more elusive: only seven of 150 elected heads of state and only 11 of 192 heads of government are women. The situation is similar in local government.

Other evidence suggests that gender empowerment and environmental awareness may be related. The number of women’s and environmental NGOs per capita was negatively correlated with deforestation in a study on 61 countries between 1990 and 2005. That may be partly because of women’s incentives to avert the negative effects of deforestation on their workload, income and health, according to The International Finance Corporation and Forest Loss: A Cross-National Analysis in 2008 by Shandra, Shandra and London.

In developed countries survey data shows that women are more likely than men to engage in environmentally sensitive behaviors, such as recycling, conserving water and avoiding environmentally harmful products (Gallup World Poll data)

But the relationship, far from straightforward, varies with development.

The full article is available here.

-Bridget Crawford

 

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