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: © 2019 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7661-7.ch009


In the frame of existing differences between genders regarding the access and control of resources, women and men have 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 explores and highlights 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 that 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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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.

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