The environment is faced with the threat of climate change today. Environmental degradation and climate change impact negatively and disproportionately on the position of women and on women’s health. Therefore it is crucial that a Feminist perspective is applied to environmental policies.
Patterns of landownership influence production, distribution of wealth, health and education levels and, in that way, impact on development issues. Traditional role divisions and patrilineal customs of inheritance influenced women’s property and inheritance rights. Women lose access to land with changes in marital status, upon which they have to depend on male relatives for survival. There is resistance towards endowing women, especially daughters, with rights to land. Stereotypical beliefs about the role of women furthermore function as barriers to legal redress options and challenges to persisting inequalities in law.
The resulting problems and conflicts are grave. Climate change is the outcome of a deep disregard for the living environment and unsustainable production methods, which have disproportionate effects on women and girls. When biodiversity and ecosystem services are degraded or destroyed, it exacerbates current inequalities between rich and poor, North and South, women and men. At the same time, women are powerful agents of change and their leadership is critical in climate change policies and programs.
The Institute for Feminism & Human Rights seeks to ensure women’s rights to and involvement in the efforts towards social, economic and environmental justice, based on sustainable methods and respect for the world around us. IF&HR recognizes that women’s leadership and Feminist perspectives are crucial to finding long-term solutions for global and local environmental problems.