May 29, 2014 at 9:29 am

Scanlan Presents on ‘Impacts of Female Empowerment on Environmental Health and Sustainability’

Dr. Stephen Scanlan, Associate Professor of Sociology, presented a paper in May at the Canadian Sociological Association 2014 Congress on “Women, the Environment and Development: The Impacts of Female Empowerment on Environmental Health and Sustainability.”

Steve ScanlanAbstract: In this paper I examine the connection between female empowerment, sustainable development, and environmental health. Despite the attention that climate change and sustainability attract from academics, activists, and policy-makers, there remains limited empirical and theoretical analysis of the impact of ecofeminist and women, environment and development ideas for improving environmental well-being. Using data from the United Nations Development Programme, the World Bank, the World Resources Institute, and YCLEP/CIESIN among others I perform a quantitative, cross-national analysis of the spillover effects that gender equality and female empowerment have on environmental health and sustainability. The gender and development perspective argues that in general women’s interests are also in the national and global interest. Findings here reveal that this is equally true with regard to the environment and sustainability emphases of ecofeminist approaches to development. Empowering women and pursuing gender equality not only benefits the lives of women and girls but also extends to community, national, regional, and global impacts in the form of sustainability and enhanced environmental health in the form of basic sanitation or indoor air pollution among other components. This paper therefore contributes to and extends important research regarding impacts on ecological well-being by more fully incorporating a gender perspective on sustainability and environmental change.

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