The Gender Dimension in Urban Air Quality

The Gender Dimension in Urban Air Quality

Theodora Slini (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece) and Fotini-Niovi Pavlidou (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2255-3.ch294

Abstract

In the frame of existing differences between genders regarding the access and control of resources, women and men have also different vulnerability, capacities and reactions to climate change and global warming issues and policies. Women are increasingly recognized as potentially critical actors of successful climate change policies. Thus, gender dimensions and perspectives need to be addressed by both global and local stakeholders and decision makers. The current chapter aims at exploring and highlighting this gap. It identifies the current situation and indicates ways for authorities to integrate the gender dimension of climate change in the various stages of policy-making. The focus is on European countries and Greece. The chapter stands as a starting point which introduces gender-sensitive aspects of climate change to decision-makers and experts and promotes the development of efficient environmental and women-friendly technologies for sustainable development.
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Introduction

In the light of several reports (IPCC, 2001; UNDP, 2007), it is evident that human contribution in global warming and climate change can be attributed differently between genders. Within the developed societies female’s contribution tent to be less than male’s on average, due to different social roles but also to different environmental consciousness and behaviour. E.g. women have different consumption habits (use of public transport, walking or cycling trips) and are more likely to support greenhouse gas emissions reduction policies related (support of recycling and energy efficiency initiatives). In Europe, direct and indirect energy consumption tend to be higher among male than female habitants a fact that is independent of income and age, approximately 39% higher in Germany and 22% higher in Sweden (genderSTE, 2014). Worldwide, it is declared that money paid to females is more mainly consumed on family needs, e.g. food and clothing, while money paid to males is more likely to be consumed on leisure, energy-intensive goods that cause high emissions. Thus, a greater proportion of an average man's carbon footprint is due to leisure than an average woman’s (Druckman et al., 2012). Last but not least, women are more sensitive to extreme weather conditions, such as floods and heatwaves and more likely to experience fuel poverty due to income inequalitites (Fouillet et al., 2007).

At the same time, the global economic system is male dominated and while women have an increasingly significant role in the economic system that led to global warming, they are underpresented in the decision making, industries and organisations focused in the environmental (climate change, transport and energy) sector. Female often surpass the male participation in voluntary environmental campaigning actions, accounting for approximately two thirds in Europe (WEN, 2010). The average proportion of women in national ministries responsible for the environment, transport and energy, by level of authority in the EU-27 is extremely low, reaching the 25.6% in 2012 according to data generated from the European Institute for Gender Equality. The aim of the current study is to review the current conditions in Europe and Greece and identify the gaps, if any, of women’s involvement in climate change and global warming decision making.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Women Empowerment: The reinforcement of the social, economic, political and legal involvement of women in the workplace, marketplace and community.

Global Warming: The rise of the average global temperature mainly compared to the pre-industrial era.

Environmental Management: The management of the use and conservation of the environment, the natural resources, the protection of habitats and species and the control of hazards.

Air Pollution: The increased concentration of pollutants in the atmosphere with negative impacts in human health and the natural environment, which can be generated by both natural causes and human activities. The increased imbalance of harmful gases in the atmosphere can trigger the global warming.

Gender Equality: The equal treatment between genders in legislation, in labour market, earnings, education, decision making.

Gender Mainstreaming: The inclusion of the gender aspect in structure, policy and strategic planning of organisations, authorities and stakeholders, at all levels.

Energy Poverty: The limited access to energy services that is vital for society well-being and sustainable development.

Climate Change: The change of the long-term average weather conditions and broadly refers to changes in our planet, such as the rise of the sea levels, the shrinkage of mountain glaciers, the ice melt in the Arctic.

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