This week, hundreds of organizations will gather in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, while the Heads of State and Government will meet as part of the United Nations Conference on sustainable Development, Rio +20, to review progress on issues about environment and development. Activists around the world come to attend the discussions, share and exchange ideas, make contacts and promote changes – many focusing on women’s rights and gender equality.
The destruction of the natural resources of the Planet and the exploitation of women are two models of domination with common origins and characteristics. Indeed, the links between anti-science and anti-choice have the same detractors : the Christian fundamentalists who play an important role in anti science thoughts such creationism and climatological skepticism.
Women’s initiatives for a sustainable environment are a source of inspiration for actions in favor of environment and sustainable development. There is a feminist trend of thought which deals with such matters named ecofeminism or social ecofeminism according to the different points of view.
Sustainable development: A different vision for inspiring actions
The keys to re-build Earth and societies imply gender equality in all spheres of our societies, respect for human rights and social justice, environmental conservation and protection of human health.
“We are advocating for women’s leadership and participation because we know that when you do have women discussing things and when you allow women a strong voice, this frees up space for change,” Michele Bachelet, Executive Director of UN Women, says.
She also believes that Rio+20 provides an enormous opportunity to move forward to a new development paradigm, which appreciates the integral human value of gender equality and women’s empowerment to the achievement of sustainable development.
Thus, women’s initiatives in environment represent a double opportunity in sustaining women. Considering the gap gender in development and the role that women hold in agriculture-for instance, in West Africa, up to 80% of the labour force in all trade is female; women agenda and sustainable development agenda must be complementary to each other. Furthermore, the more a woman can access to contraception and health, the more she will be able to provide for her own needs.
Sustainability thanks to the reproductive rights
Scientific studies explain the role of overpopulation as pressure on the environment, the ecosystems, the planetary resources and the biodiversity. Overpopulation still remains a huge taboo and is still not politically correct, even though a UN report dating from 2009 advocated the free condoms in poor countries, which already struggle against the HIV.
But overpopulation is not only an issue which concerns poor countries: all countries around the world must make efforts. Indeed, in developed countries, the access to care and comfort have increased the individual carbon footprint.
Education is considered a solution to overpopulation. It emphasized the need to help millions rise out of poverty, brake trends of reckless consumption and address population growth through voluntary means such as education for women and access to contraception.
A general trend seems to be that human rights are under attack. And specific rights, such as sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR), are also being proposed for deletion, which is unacceptable, knowing each year more than 250,000 women die because they do not have access to SRHR. These deaths are entirely avoidable.
To learn more about women’s priorities for sustainable development check out: http://www.womenrio20.org/
This post is originally published on Feminists for Choice and is cross-posted with permission.
Photo Credit: Women Rio + 20