Feminist Geographies of Gender and Climate Change: From International Negotiations to Women in Mexico
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe gender and climate change literature has set out to underscore the differential impacts of climate change within populations. Much of this literature has conflated gender to equate to women, and has focused mostly on women in the developing world, mainly in rural areas where women are usually assigned reproductive social roles and seen as victims of climate change. This overlooks the intersecting and multiple identities of women, their role and voice as agents of change in all regions, and does not use the full range of feminist theory and methods. This dissertation uses feminist geography to challenge the dominant scales and sites of climate change governance and draws attention to the micropolitical, situated, and relational practices through which power relations surrounding climate change are (re)produced. The overarching research question is: How can we include gender and intersectional voices in the study and practice of climate governance? More specifically, I examine how gender and climate policies were and are created; I expose how discourses of gender and climate change are perpetuated and by whom; and I make clear the relationship between these discourses and social inequality and vulnerability to climate change. Paper A examines the experiences of women who are authors of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports and finds that while some women experience active forms of gender discrimination such as silencing or being dismissed, other have a more positive experience, but encounter barriers such as lacking childcare or support from their employers. Paper B shows how feminist geography can investigate the micropolitical and everyday interactions in important geopolitical spaces. It finds that the simple formulation around gender in international climate debate erases important differences amongst women and their struggles; creating an identity politics that excludes people with similar goals, weakening potential for positive change. Paper C contests the mainstream climate change and gender discourse that constructs the ‘third world women’, showing women in rural Mexico as agents of change instead of vulnerable and passive victims and including self-reflection on my own fieldwork. The appended paper shows that, in most cases, carbon offset projects have consolidated gendered regimes of differential access to markets and economic opportunities while also reifying property tenure structures that may further exacerbate gendered distinctions.
Degree ProgramGraduate College