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Ecofeminism

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Abstract

This article summarizes the history of ecofeminism and its various strands of activism and intellectual inquiry. Through critiques made of ecofeminism, both from those allying themselves with the movement, and from those who wish to disassociate themselves from it, the argument is made that ecofeminism, particularly in its social constructivist form, has been influential in international policy making. As a parallel development alongside feminist political ecology and other environmental feminisms it has developed analytically, infused by renewed interest by a new generation of academics and activists, as well as a new generation of environmental concerns, dominated by climate change.

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... One of the first approaches to connect gender and conservation was established by d' Eaubonne's (1974) ecofeminist theory. Ecofeminists suggest that there is a dualism inherent within gender-environment relations -focused on women's pro-environment attitudes in a destructive patriarchal world (Buckingham, 2015). Ecofeminist scholars strongly critique the masculinization of biodiversity that has led to violent technologies responsible for exploiting and destroying nature to benefit a dominant capitalist system (Shiva, 1989). ...
... Ecofeminism strongly advocated for and influenced the first approaches to including gender in international environmental politics (Buckingham, 2015;Morrow, 2013). Resulting global sustainable development programs targeted the 'Third World Woman' as a homogenous and undifferentiated category for overcoming ecosystem degradation and social injustices (Leach, 2007;Sturgeon, 1999). ...
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... They are more likely than men to be tied to their living environment through a deep knowledge of plants animals and local ecology." [4] Women, and subsequently children, have become the most vulnerable to ecological destruction, but they are also seen as being the closest to nature, making their love and attention towards environmental issues the most plausible solution for a better future. Recognizing these intersections makes ecofeminism a valuable lens through which to view the important connections between struggling women and children and their environments, as well as an outlet for mutual support and advocacy. ...
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Ecofeminism, like the social movements it has emerged from, is both political activism and intellectual critique. Bringing together feminism and environmentalism, ecofeminism argues that the domination of women and the degradation of the environment are consequences of patriarchy and capitalism. Any strategy to address one must take into account its impact on the other so that women's equality should not be achieved at the expense of worsening the environment, and neither should environmental improvements be gained at the expense of women. Indeed, ecofeminism proposes that only by reversing current values, thereby privileging care and cooperation over more aggressive and dominating behaviors, can both society and environment benefit. This article considers the heritage of ecofeminism as a multiply braided political praxis and an intellectual position. It examines key critiques of earlier perspectives, before exploring its more recent developments. It considers its relationship with, and potential to enhance other feminist and environmental approaches, particularly those concerned with feminist political ecology and environmental justice.
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