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Virtue and vulnerability: Discourses on women, gender and climate change

May 2010

Seema Arora-Jonsson


This article examines the existing beliefs surrounding women and climate change. Scholars often discuss women in the Global South as being particularly vulnerable to climate change due to increased rates of poverty, while women in the Global North are seen as virtuous and more environmentally conscious than men. This article argues against both those assumptions. Additionally, the author argues that, by making these assumptions about women, a greater burden of responsibility is being put on women to fix the climate crisis, without much material benefit.

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Policy Implications

In order for climate activism to actually benefit women, there should be a change in existing power structures. Including women in climate strategies, without allowing them to actually voice their own opinions and make policy change, does not benefit them. The author suggests governments work with women’s groups, rather than just including women in existing institutions.

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