Female empowerment and a sustainable future

| 5th April 2019


Main image credit: Soila Apparicio
Women, who have often not worked in fields like politics and energy, bring a unique, creative perspective that could better our world.

Once people recognize that females are essential for making sustainable improvements and safeguarding the planet for the future, they'll facilitate meaningful progress in both small and large-scale ways.

People are increasingly concerned about how to work hard towards a sustainable future. For some of them, that means investing in electric cars or biking to work while others might specifically aim to do businesses that have eco-friendly products and manufacturing practices.

But, most of them arguably don't think about gender equality and inclusiveness as tying into sustainability.

The treatment of women moved into the forefront recently due to the #MeToo movement. And, that trend is undoubtedly crucial in achieving more equality across the board. But, it'll soon become clear that any view of sustainability remains incomplete without including women within it.

Economic activities

Women bring a diversity of thought and practices, and the contributions they make will both directly and indirectly affect sustainability moving forward.

Once people recognise that females are essential for making sustainable improvements and safeguarding the planet for the future, they'll facilitate meaningful progress in both small and large-scale ways. Here's an overview of why that's true.

Research shows that women are both impacted by sustainable social development and are well-positioned to influence it. Think of how women are often the ones responsible for sourcing the daily supplies for a household. As such, they are frequently the first to feel the effects of non-sustainable practices.

But, at the other end of the spectrum, consider that countries with high percentages of women in legislative positions tend to have fewer problems with unsustainable overshoot.

Positive changes

That's an issue that happens when growing populations and economic activities harm the biophysical carrying capacity of the environment and could stimulate hardships such as having to travel further to find food or water.

As such, researchers argue that women have a continual motivation to work toward greater sustainability that might not be present in men.

In short, they may have different priorities that arise when caring for their families compared to men. That's not to say males don't care about sustainability, but the matters that women bring to the table regarding it could offer unique perspectives.

Findings also indicate that women are often better at building consensus or responding to the needs of their constituents. That could mean that the ongoing investment women have towards sustainability does not only extend to their immediate families but their communities and the wider world.

Once people recognize that females are essential for making sustainable improvements and safeguarding the planet for the future, they'll facilitate meaningful progress in both small and large-scale ways.

If females have the opportunities to promote positive changes through sustainability laws or movements, they could make long-term changes.


Females have ongoing investments in making our future more sustainable. They have valuable and worthwhile reasons to fight hard for sustainability in ways that matter to themselves, their families and broader groups.

Additionally, they may also have priorities that men don't initially bring up. So, their perspectives matter in giving well-balanced pictures of why sustainability counts now and moving forward.

There is still much progress left to make regarding equal opportunities for women to contribute through their work, ideas and perspectives. But, focusing on women during efforts to improve sustainability will pay off in countless ways.

In Philadelphia, for example, there's a women-aimed sustainability group that stimulates discussions and opens minds about sustainable possibilities presented by local entrepreneurs.

Sustainability also applies to the workforce. Some long-standing employment models are difficult for women to enter and thrive within. However, the cooperative movement is one that empowers women.


It also gives people the opportunity to behave in sustainable ways. More specifically, cooperatives are owned and operated by their members. They're democratic organisations that give decision-making power to each member, too.

When women get involved in cooperatives, they have opportunities to make smart decisions that protect the planet for the future. But, the influence of women doesn't only extend to cooperatives, of course.

An in-depth study profiled the contributions of females to ocean governance, including marine conservation and sustainable fisheries. It also helps that previous gender-related boundaries are getting blurred.

The experiences women have throughout their lives, whether while raising their families, participating in the workforce and doing the other things that comprise their daily existences allow them to advocate strongly for why sustainability matters and how it could positively impact their lives.


But, it's crucial for the people involved in spurring sustainability progress to listen to women and realise that their voices matter.

In closing, it's short-sighted and damaging for people to neglect to consider and prize female views during the continual push for better sustainability.

Women become affected by non-sustainable outcomes and associated problems like climate change in ways that men may not through during their lives.

And, they have pioneering ideas that could help bring about sustainability in unexpected and valuable ways.

This Author

Emily Folk is a conservation and sustainability writer and the editor of Conservation Folks.


The Ecologist has a formidable reputation built on fifty years of investigative journalism and compelling commentary from writers across the world. Now, as we face the compound crises of climate breakdown, biodiversity collapse and social injustice, the need for rigorous, trusted and ethical journalism has never been greater. This is the moment to consolidate, connect and rise to meet the challenges of our changing world. The Ecologist is owned and published by the Resurgence Trust. Support The Resurgence Trust from as little as £1. Thank you. Donate here