Environmental Education and Gender: Voices from India and Brazil
Sammanfattning: Dramatic changes in the environmental patterns represent a threat to human beings and life on this planet. However, due to differences in the social roles and rights between women and men, a gender perspective is essential to understand how these changes in the environment are affecting individuals in their societies. Even though gender is appointed as a relevant factor when reflecting on the relationship human beings and nature, women’s knowledge, perspectives and needs are being overlooked by the Environmental Education research and theory. This research aims at investigating the relevance of a gender perspective in Environmental Education programs in societies where women are the main responsible for the household and childcare. To this end, the activities of two environmental NGOs – one from India and one from Brazil – have been investigated through the case study methodology. As per the methods applied, semi-structure interviews have been carried out with 10 women from both countries. Through gender lenses the formal and informal forces that influence social roles and power dynamics in the referred societies are analyzed. The empirical findings demonstrate that in both Indian and Brazilian societies women are still the main house and children caretakers. Such role implies the responsibility of deciding about energy and water consumption, waste management and other domestic expenditures. Empirical results suggest that when a woman is environmental-aware she has the potential to make more sustainable choices and thus educate other members of the family. However, being the main responsible for the private sphere can deprive women from playing a major role in the public level where key decision about the environment are taken. The present study represents a key contribution to the Environmental Education theory and research as it addresses the poorly explored field of Environmental Education and Gender issues.
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