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Women and Environmental Justice. About WHIN What is Environmental Justice? Women and Environmental Justice Aspects of Environmental Justice.

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Presentation on theme: "Women and Environmental Justice. About WHIN What is Environmental Justice? Women and Environmental Justice Aspects of Environmental Justice."— Presentation transcript:

1 Women and Environmental Justice

2 About WHIN What is Environmental Justice? Women and Environmental Justice Aspects of Environmental Justice

3 About WHIN Regional women’s health service for NMR and one of 11 specialist services in Victoria. Covering Banyule, Darebin, Hume, Moreland, Nillumbik, Whittlesea and Yarra. 20 years experience in providing services

4 Women’s Health Promotion Women’s Health In the North (WHIN) aims to strengthen women’s health and wellbeing, with a strategic focus on preventing violence against women, sexual and reproductive rights, economic participation and environmental sustainability.

5 ‘…the fair treatment for people of all races, cultures and incomes regarding the development of environmental laws, regulations and policies’ (Environmental Protection Agency, USA) What is Environmental Justice (EJ)?

6 Women and EJ Why should a gendered perspective be included in EJ analysis? 1.Women are generally poorer than men. 2.The social construction of womanhood restricts women’s behaviour. 3.Women live longer than men.

7 Worldwide, women earn just over 50c to every dollar earned by a men. In Australia, women earn about 18% less than men. 55% of women in their 60s have no superannuation. 1. Women are generally poorer than men

8 Why? Women do more unpaid work and have more caring responsibilities. –Women are much more likely to be lone parents. Segregation of women into low- paying work. Steven Pressman, 2003: Feminist Explanations for the Feminization of Poverty

9 2. The Social Construction of Womanhood More women died in floods in Bangladesh because they are not taught to swim and because culturally-specific clothing (e.g. saris) restrict movement. In Australia, women in male-headed households are less likely to be familiar with bushfire protection procedures. Women are less likely to use cars than men, resulting in a greater reliance on public transport. Women are more vulnerable to domestic violence and rape after natural disasters.

10 Life expectancy for Australians: Men: 79.4 Women: Women live longer than men

11 Intersections of discrimination ‘Gendered vulnerability does not derive from a single factor… but reflects historically and culturally specific patterns of relations in social institutions, culture and personal lives. Intersecting with economic, racial and other inequalities, these relationships create hazardous social conditions placing different groups of women differently at risk.’ (Enarson 1998)

12 Economic Participation

13 Housing Poorer areas more likely to be polluted Fuel poverty Protection against heatwaves Rental housing Homeless women

14 Transport Importance of mobility Women use cars less often, public transport more often Problems exacerbated by urban planning Women in rural areas

15 Food Insecurity Women are traditionally in charge of household food supplies Related to poverty Women in rural areas Homeless women

16 Women and Natural Disaster

17 Disasters Preparing for disasters Evacuation Aftermath Emergency management Disaster education

18 Heatwaves Women and thermoregulation Who is at risk? The elderly, children Women? Socio-economic status/education level? Why might women be more at risk?

19 Mental Health

20 Women and Mental Health Women are more vulnerable to ‘internalising disorders’ such as depression and anxiety. Men are more vulnerable to ‘externalising disorders’, e.g. aggression. Why? Impoverished groups are at a greater risk of mental health problems.

21 Climate Change and Mental Health Increase in number and severity of natural disasters. Increased risk of injury and physical health problems. Endangerment of natural and social environments. Corollary effects Effects of adaptation

22 Climate change, mental health and women Very little research Expectation that existing risks would be magnified

23 Climate Change and Rural Women

24 Rural Women Australian agriculture is highly male-dominated. Women’s work is often ignored and specific needs are not considered. Women have little presence in decision-making.

25 Rural Women and Drought Women forced to seek off-farm work to supplement family income. Personal relationships put under stress. Instability within family. Women became farm financial managers. Women usually excluded from decision-making. Children.

26 Children, the Elderly and the Disabled

27 Children 88% of the burden of disease due to climate change falls on children. Physiology Mental age Burden on women

28 The Elderly Physiological effects of ageing In disasters Knowledge transfer

29 The Disabled 10% of any population, but often invisible Women with disabilities Disasters Building alliances

30 Decision-Making and Leadership

31 Equal representation Women constitute 13% of government officials worldwide Women in environmental movements Critical mass Women and Leadership

32 Conclusion How are these issues relevant to women living in Melbourne?

33 Contact Details Cathy Weiss Research Assistant – EJ priority area Women’s Health In the North 680 High Street Thornbury


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