SOCA3030: Women, Ecology and Development


The modernization and "development" of Third World societies has had particularly negative effects on the situation of poorer women, both in rural and urban contexts. As households become poorer and employment more difficult, women are often the most vulnerable. Traditional cultural safeguards, however limited, are eroded by Western values and the deteriorating economy and environment. How far do new environmental approaches such as ecofeminism address the needs of these women and their families, who make up much of the world’s population? Can the vital role in human survival of women’s traditional knowledge be recovered? Can radical environmental action, such as the Chipko movement, or imaginative new initiatives, such as the Grameen Bank, make a significant difference? Are there more appropriate models for the development process?

Some Preliminary Reading

Braidotti, Rosi et al. (1994) Women, the Environment and Sustainable Development: Towards a Theoretical Synthesis. Zed Books.
Diamond, Irene (1994) Fertile Ground: Women, Earth and the Limits of Control. Beacon Press.
Kabeer, Naila (1994) Reversed Realities: Gender Hierarchies in Development Thought. London: Verso; New Delhi: Kali for Women.
Merchant, Carolyn. (1980) The Death of Nature: Women, Ecology and the Scientific Revolution. Harper and Row.
Mies, Maria and Shiva, Vandana (1993) Ecofeminism New Delhi: Kali for Women, also published by Zed Books
Rahnema, Majid with Victoria Bawtree (1997) The Post-Development Reader. London : Zed Books ; Halifax, N.S. : Fernwood.Sen, Gita and Caren Grown (1987) Development, Crises, and Alternative Visions: Third World Women’s Perspectives. New York: Monthly Review Press.


Some web links relating to women, ecology and development.

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GBS updated 03/03/2002