It’s International Women’s Day, which is a good excuse to celebrate the achievements of women around the world. It’s also a good excuse to eat chocolate, take a nap, and give yourself a treat. However, as we all know, International Women’s Day is an opportunity to be reflective about the gender inequality that still persists, and to celebrate the progress that has been made. This year, we are focusing on the need for more action. The gender gap is not going to close without more effort being made. It is important that we recognise this, and that we do everything we can to close the gap in future.
There are many ways to celebrate women, but one of the most effective is to support women in your community. Whether you are able to volunteer at a women’s shelter, donate to a women’s charity, or support a woman in your life, it’s important to do so. The small gestures add up, and together they can make a big difference. There are prevalent inequalities between men and women in many facets of life; the gender pay gap, uneven access to education, lack of political representation. The eco gender gap represents yet another of these inequalities. This blog discusses what the eco gender gap actually is, why it is present and how to bridge this gap.
What is the eco gender gap?
This term refers to the idea that men are less likely to exhibit environmentally friendly behaviors than their female counterparts. These environmentally friendly behaviors refer to actions such as buying clothes which are eco-friendly or sustainable, eating less meat or buying reusable items.
This idea stems from a survey conducted by market research firm Mintel. The survey found that 71% of women try to live more ethically and sustainably while only 59% of men do so. In addition, 65% of women surveyed tried to encourage their family and friends to live more ethically while only 59% of men did the same. Studies of gender consumption patterns reflect this, showing that men tend to consume more meat and drive longer distances than women do, leading to a potential higher energy consumption by men.
There are many reasons that this gap may exist. One reason may be that sustainable behaviors may fall under tasks that women tend to do in the household. Jack Duckett, a Senior Consumer Lifestyles Analyst at Mintel says that “this could simply be a reflection of the fact that, according to our research, many women still tend to take charge of the running of the household, with chores such as cleaning, laundry and even recycling falling under that banner,”.
This study found that its results pointed to greater altruism in women. This greater inclination for selflessness may manifest itself in showing environmentally friendly behaviors in order to play a role in saving the planet for future generations.
However, the reason may be more problematic than this. Jack Duckett also says that “However, there is also clearly a wider disconnect between men and environmental issues, which, more troublingly, could be due to men feeling that caring for the environment somehow undermines their masculinity.”. There seems to be an association between green behavior and femininity, creating the conception, for both men and women, that green customers are more feminine. A study found that men were found to oppose or reject sustainable behaviors in order to appear more masculine.
How should we work to bridge this gap?
Understand that there is a gap and why: A sense of acknowledgement and understanding is integral to take further action in bridging this gap. We must understand that there is a gap and then take action to specifically address this gap.
Education: Keep having conversations and reading resources about climate change. Climate change will impact everyone so understanding the severity of the situation will influence everyone, regardless of gender, to take action.
Inclusivity: Many specifically eco-friendly products seem to be geared towards women, such as menstrual products, makeup and fashion. There needs to be a surge of eco-friendly products that men use or that are gender-neutral, for example, razors and fashion.
Today, we are witnessing a paradigm shift in our understanding of what it means to be sustainable. It’s no longer about recycling and using energy-efficient lightbulbs. It’s about finding ways to build a society that can meet the needs of today’s population without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It’s about leaving a world that is as healthy and vibrant as the one we inherited from our ancestors.
The news is that women are more likely than men to take these concerns seriously. Women are more likely to say that the health of the planet is a major concern, and when asked to choose between a job that contributes to the health of the planet and one that provides a high income, women are more likely to choose the job that contributes to the health of the planet. They are also more likely to support policies and programs that are designed to protect and improve the environment. Perhaps most significantly, women are more likely than men to support policies that encourage people to reduce their consumption of fossil fuels, an issue that will be key to ensuring the viability of future societies.
As a result, women are leading the charge toward a more sustainable society. They are actively seeking out careers that will allow them to make a positive impact on the environment. They are more concerned about the health of the planet than men, and as a result, they are more likely to support policies that encourage people to reduce their consumption of fossil fuels. It’s women, in other words, who are paving the way toward a more sustainable future.
Adoption of stereotypically masculine branding: Using this kind of branding may work to convince men that being eco-friendly is not just stereotypically feminine.
Stemming from inherent personality differences, conceptions of masculinity and stereotypical roles in society, women are likely to be more environmentally friendly than men.
The severity of climate change calls for everyone to take action, leading to a need to bridge the eco-gender gap.
We encourage you to understand the reasons for this gap and continue the conversation surrounding climate change.
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