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Ecofeminism for a more egalitarian world

Around the world, a new International Women's Day will be celebrated this Monday, March 8, 2021. At the heart of the debate launched by the United Nations (UN) is the call for an egalitarian future. The opportunity to look at the concept of eco-feminism. Its ambition: to build a fairer world, in which men, women and nature will find harmony.

March 8 is an annual opportunity to take stock of the situation of women around the world. This year, by choosing as its theme "Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world", the United Nations (UN) Women intends to honour those who have worked to shape a fairer post-pandemic future. A theme that resonates with the principles of eco-feminism.


Ecofeminism, a political movement

Historically, ecofeminism corresponds to a very political, alterglobalist and anti-capitalist movement. A movement that took very radical positions in the 1980s, particularly in the United States. Among its most notable actions at the time: the Women's Pentagon Action, which chained some 2,000 screaming women to the gates of the Pentagon in 1980, or a camp against the installation of nuclear missiles at Greenham Common, England, between 1981 and 2000!

But the philosopher Jeanne Burgart Goutal reminds us that the term radical is also used for those who look at problems at their roots. According to her, ecofeminists thus ask themselves questions about systems. They do not denounce men, but the system of patriarchy. They militate for a fairer, more egalitarian and more inclusive world.

“We cannot live in a sustainable world if all people are not treated equally.”

Greta Thunberg, climate activist.

Ecofeminists therefore aim not only at the emancipation of women, but above all at the emancipation of all humanity with the goal of achieving a form of harmony within the biosphere. This is precisely what lies behind the major idea of reclaiming, of reappropriation. That of finally reconnecting with living nature on the one hand, and on the other hand, reconnecting with the nobility of activities - such as child care, nutrition or sensitivity - that have for too long been described as feminine.

Ecofeminism, an idea born in France

Let us recall, however, that the concept of ecofeminism seems to have been born more than 40 years ago, from the pen of a French Communist Party activist, Françoise d'Eaubonne. In a new context of ecological awareness, she then established a direct link between exploitation of the planet and oppression of women.

Isn't the climate crisis we are experiencing the result of an economic system based on constant exploitation? A system imagined and maintained by men. And which puts women in particular danger today. According to the United Nations, they could be up to 14 times more concerned by certain dangers linked to global warming. Already 80% of climate refugees are women.

Ecofeminism in the world

“Ecofeminism is the idea of a close interconnection between ecology and feminism. It is not a simple juxtaposition, but one and the same struggle that takes two different forms.”

Jeanne Burgart Goutal, philosopher.

All over the world, for several decades, movements have been claiming to be ecofeminists. The Women for life on earth movement in the United States and the United Kingdom, the Greenbelt for life movement in Kenya, the Chipko movement in India, carried by the writings of Vandana Shiva, or the movement of women who patrol against deforestation in Tanzania. And scientific studies are beginning to show that the integration of women in decision-making bodies has a positive impact on the environment.

In France, sociological studies show that women are more likely to implement individual solutions to limit the ecological footprint of households. And this is one of the risks that eco-feminism specialists highlight. After being placed in the role of the household fairies, women should not be considered as the fairies of the planet from now on.

Ecofeminism corresponds well to a political commitment that calls for strong decision-making in favor of environmental protection. For humanity, it is not now a question of relying on women to save the planet. Rather, it is a matter of counting on women to invent tomorrow' society.