The Eco gender gap: how being eco-friendly results in gender inequality

With women and young women like Greta Thunberg, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Vanessa Nakate at the forefront of environmental advocacy it is undeniable that women are more advanced in terms of being eco-friendly compared to men. According to a study from the Swedish Defense Research Agency in 2012, in Europe alone it is concluded that women overall left smaller carbon footprints than men.

But how did the act of caring for the environment becomes a bigger burden to one gender than the other?

The answer is simply because women has bigger purchasing power than men. With new inventions such as menstrual cups and reusable pads, your periods can now be waste less. Along with the rise of sustainable fashion and makeup, women are the main target of this green lifestyle. Even as of today in our contemporary society women are still notably the ones expected to do domestic activities like cleaning and cooking. Hence women are also the ones responsible for choosing the materials they use and buy to complete the house works, and it puts more pressure on them to be more aware of the environment knowing that they are producing the wastes. On the contrary, men spend less time and effort in finding out regarding the products that they use. Most of them do not pay much attention to whether a product is eco-friendly or not, and just buy things that are convenient for their use.

Another reason why men contribute less to being environmentally friendly is due to the idea of toxic masculinity. The concept of being eco-friendly might still seem feminine to many men and many do not want to feel emasculated by doing so. This also suggests activities such as littering, wasting water, and using too much electricity. Unconsciously men are restricted to only do certain masculine activities to secure their gender identity, by our society, that contradicts them from being more environmentally conscious, this mindset does not only harm the environment but also the people.

It is important for brands to start giving out messages that target men instead of just women. We should also be mindful that for most brands to change, the change should come from the customers first. It is unfortunate that up to this day misogyny still holds us back from becoming a better and more sustainable society. The responsibility to improve the environment should not depend on only one gender or one group of people. It is quite enough that women are relegated to step down while men keep on making harmful unsustainable choices. (Edna Nathalie)

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