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How are gender, environment linked? Start here

© Michael Christopher Brown

Environmental issues and the climate crisis affect women disproportionately: They’re 14 times more likely to die during a disaster and constitute 80 percent of all climate refugees.

But women are also powerful forces in the fight to halt climate change and prevent environmental collapse. 

With that in mind, here is a list of books, podcasts and more recommended by Conservation International staff that explores the link between gender and the environment.

This video does an excellent job illustrating how gender roles and norms lead to a systematic disadvantages and exacerbate poverty, illiteracy, inequality and insecurity — as well as clearly showing how development organizations can address the drivers of these challenges to reduce extreme poverty and improve the lives of men and women around the world. This video communicates complex patterns of behaviors and influences in a clear and tangible way. — Whitney J A Yadao-Evans, gender and safeguards manager at Conservation International

‘Mothers of Invention’ podcast hosted by Mary Robinson and Maeve Higgins

The "Mothers of Invention" podcast is back for a third season. On this podcast, you can learn all about the women who are driving powerful solutions to the climate crisis. Both informative and witty, this podcast strikes just the right tone, keeping viewers inspired and hopeful for the future of our planet. — Katie Bryden, senior producer at Conservation International

‘A Sustainable Mind’ podcast hosted by Marjorie Alexander

This podcast is hosted by a woman who share the vision and mission of many people around the world who are working toward a more sustainable world. The topics and guests on the show are diverse, from a small entrepreneur with big ideas to scientists who dedicate their careers to discovering the best ways to live sustainably. — Dora Samaniego, manager of sustainable coffee at Conservation International

This podcast highlights not only the barriers women face in reaching executive positions, but also explores why the type of opportunities women are offered may be biased toward failure. If you’ve ever wondered why there are so few women in executive positions at organizations, this podcast helps address that. — Nairika Murphy, senior director of strategic initiatives at Conservation International

‘What’s Really Holding Women Back?’ by Robin J. Ely and Irene Padavic 

This Harvard Business Review essay shatters the narrative that home responsibilities and work or life choices are the main barrier holding women back from higher-level, more lucrative positions. Instead it highlights that the “accommodations” firms design to help, and encourage women to take, are actually part of the problem. For example, the flexibility to work from home decreases women’s visibility and decision-making power within a team. It points us in the direction of a real solution, in which firms make work-life-balance more realistic for everyone rather than creating expectations that are unrealistic and hold women back. — N.M.

The EcoChic Podcast hosted by Laura E. Diez

The EcoChic Podcast is a female-focused show about climate change and sustainability, where host Laura E. Diez invites guests to discuss topics ranging from sexism in the environmental movement to the pandemic’s impact on climate change. In many of her episodes, Diez also offers sustainable alternatives to everyday activities, such as organic skincare regiments or tips to eat more natural foods in your diet — which inspired me to start my own herb garden. — Kiley Price, staff writer at Conservation International

'Women on a Mission' video series by Conservation International 

The “Women on a Mission” video series highlights female leaders around the world making a difference in their communities by protecting nature. In the most recent episode, viewers can follow Josephine Ekiru, a woman in the Turkana pastoralist community of Northern Kenya who has dedicated her life to converting poachers in the area to peacekeepers. Now acting as the Peace Coordinator of Northern Rangelands Trust — a nonprofit dedicated to ending resource-based conflict in Kenya — Ekiru has helped reform 19 poachers in the region. She has also helped push for women’s rights in her often male-dominated community, recruiting 25 female peace ambassadors to join her mission. The story of Josephine and her leadership and determination to reform society, support women and protect wildlife serves as a model for other women in societies around the globe that face similar challenges. The film not only takes us right into Josephine’s village, where we witness her charisma and connection that inspires other women, but also shows viewers how her perseverance has earned her the respect from many of the village’s male leaders and elders. I hope this wonderful short film can inspire many other conservationists around the world. — John Martin, director of production at Conservation International 


Kiley Price is a staff writer at Conservation International. Want to read more stories like this? Sign up for email updates here. Donate to Conservation International here.

Cover image: Women in Nimba County, Liberia (© Michael Christopher Brown)

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