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Gendered Geographies of Environmental Injustice

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As environmental justice concerns become more widely embedded in environmental organizations and policymaking, and increasingly the focus of academic study, the gender dimension dissolves into an exclusive focus on race/ethnicity and class/income. While grassroots campaigning activities were often dominated by women, in the more institutionalized activities of organizations dominated by salaried professionals, gender inequality is neglected as a vector of environmental injustice, and addressing this inequality is not considered a strategy for redress. This paper explores some of the reasons why this may be so, which include a lack of visibility of gendered environmental injustice; professional campaigning organizations which are themselves gender blind; institutions at a range of scales which are still structured by gender (as well as class and race) inequalities; and an intellectual academy which continues to marginalize the study of gender—and women's—inequality. The authors draw on experience of environmental activism, participant observation, and other qualitative research into the gendering of environmental activity, to first explore the constructions of scale to see how this might limit a gender-fair approach to environmental justice. Following this, the practice of “gender mainstreaming” in environmental organizations and institutions will be examined, demonstrating how this is limited in scope and fails to impact on the gendering of environmental injustice.

Keywords: environmental injustice; environmental justice; gender; scale; women

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Centre for Human Geography, Brunel University, Uxbridge, UK; ,, Email:

Publication date: September 1, 2009


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