Environmentally Sustainable Development and Poverty: A Gender Analysis
Much of the mainstream literature on environmentally sustainable development has ignored the gender dimensions. In the instances where there has been specific attention to women, they have been viewed as naturally privileged managers of environmental resources with little attention paid to how gender relations systematically differentiate poor men and women in processes of production and reproduction and relegate women to environmentally-based activities and limit their access to other types of livelihood activity. More recently, linkages between gender, poverty and the environment are increasingly discussed.
A gender analysis is increasingly seen as important because: experiences of poverty and environmental change are gender-differentiated; environmental security is mediated by gender relations; and women and men have both conflicting and complementary interests and roles in environmental management. There are significant differences between women’s and men's experience of poverty and environmental change because of gender inequalities in access to environmental resources, for example: land and common property resources; command over labor, e.g. allocation of labor time; capacity to diversify livelihood strategies, e.g. accumulating savings and market oriented activities; and decision-making powers.