Chapter 1: The Gender-Environment Nexus

The Global Gender and Environmental Outlook (GGEO) occupies a unique space in the landscape of global assessments, highlighting a new framework for the world to look at social and economic development. The GGEO is not simply a matter of add women to the environment and stir; instead it takes the foundations of gender-based assessment frameworks into the core of traditional environmental assessment approach of Drivers-Pressure-State-Impacts-Response (DPSIR) methodology, forcing new questions to be asked and new methods to be developed.

The drivers of environmental change are differentiated by gender. Whether environmental change is acute or slow and chronic, it has specific differentiated impacts on women and girls or on men and boys. Using a gender-specific approach to examine these types of complex linkages (which may be referred to as the “gender-and-environment nexus”) is therefore an appropriate way to investigate the dynamic relationships between environmental change and gender equality, as well as between impacts on sustainablity and the realization of women’s rights and empowerment (Leach 2015, Seager 2014).

Recognition of the current environmental impacts is taking place at the same time that global policy and advocacy efforts for gender equality are gaining traction as well as for class/income, race/ethnicity and other types of differences. The push for gender equality is shaping environmental understanding, but notions of gender equality are also shaped by environmental imperatives including equal access to, and sharing of, the benefits of the use and protection of ecosystems and natural resources (UN Women 2014, MEA 2005).