Feminist perspectives on global environmental justice

Environmental and climate crises are not gender neutral. They disproportionately affect people already facing multiple forms of discrimination. If feminist environmental policy is to extend beyond the effects on women, it needs to combine gender and ecological expertise. This dossier features a selection of the Heinrich Böll Foundation's contributions over recent decades to international debates on environmental and gender justice. To combat both discriminatory power relations and resource destruction, the foundation's international offices have launched environmental projects that pursue these cross-cutting policies.

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No field of policy is gender neutral. That's why it's so important not just to have climate policy run through all the ministerial portfolios but also to really integrate gender democracy in all of them.
Barbara Unmüßig, President of the Heinrich Böll Foundation


As pressure grows to combat the drastic effects of global environmental and climate crises, greater attention is also being paid to civil society organisations throughout the world and their ever stronger feminist demands. Women's and feminist movements are playing an increasingly important role in environmental and climate action. The UN's Commission on the Status of Women is also devoting its 2022 session to "achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls in the context of climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction policies and programmes".

Porträt barbara Unmüßig

"It's not just the carbon footprint – we also have to see the feet"


"Mainstreaming gender and empowering women for environmental Sustainability"

What gender justice and plastic have to do with one another

The UN Environment Assembly endorsed a resolution to create a legally binding agreement by 2024 to lower the huge levels of plastic pollution. Plastic products weighing one hundred times the Eiffel Tower are thrown into seas and dumps every day. As is well known, their production and disposal processes also cause enormous environmental and health problems. But what does destructive plastic waste have to do with gender inequality?

Combatting Global Plastic Pollution Cover Mit Grafik

Combatting Global Plastic Pollution

A critical look at the entire plastics cycle is also of crucial importance from a feminist perspective, because the plastic problem cannot simply be reduced to consumer use patterns or to harmful microplastics in cosmetic products. On the contrary, every stage of the plastics cycle reflects different gender-specific experiences and exposures.

Feminist perspectives on global urbanisation

Some 90% of future urban residents are expected to live in Asia and Africa; regions that are already home to highest proportion of socially disadvantaged people. Worldwide, 800 million people currently live in slums. In Europe too, almost a quarter of the urban population are impoverished and socially excluded. And yet for women, who on average own less than 2% of the world’s titled land, the city is an opportunity and a chance for survival.

Cover Urbanisation

Feminist perspectives on gender-just and sustainable urban development

Urbanisation is a defining characteristic of life across the globe in the 21st century. Cities offer many opportunities for different types of people to forge a livelihood and lead a fulfilling social life. The diverse options are taken up in particular by women and people who renounce traditional, binary gender roles and norms and are thus often subject to various kinds of discrimination.

Two sides of the same coin: gender justice and climate justice

The effects of global warming and climate change affect all people worldwide, but not to the same extent. The climate crisis affects countries in the Global South more than those in the North, and it does not have a gender-neutral impact. Women* and girls* are demonstrably more exposed to greater risks from natural disasters and stresses from weather extremes than men and boys.

Steinkohlekraftwerk München Nord aus der Ferne im Schnee

CEDAW Committee: German climate policy is not gender just

Stadtansicht bei Sonnenuntergang

Climate mitigation and adaptation requires gender-responsive financing

Arbeiter bei der Reisernte

Gender and climate change: Snapshots from Southeast Asia

Global energy transition: Inequalities could be exacerbated


Gender Responsive Climate Finance - Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung Washington, DC

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In this four minute video, we show why climate finance must be gender-responsive and what gender responsive climate finance should look like.