A book by Friends of the Earth and C40 Cities
By far my favourite book this year – it took me so long to read it, simply because I got so many good ideas from it that I had to stop, write things down, send some e-mails and contact potential collaborators!
Why Women Will Save Planet is a collection of interviews with and texts by several prominent women in politics and international organizations – a well of knowledge, experience and ideas, generously shared with us by brilliant minds from all over the world.. The contributors to the book range from Zandile Gumede, Mayor of Durban, South Africa to Julie A. Nelson, Economist at the University of Massachusetts, Boston and Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of the Southbank Centre in London, so everyone who’s interested in the intersectionality between feminism and environmentalism can learn something from this book, no matter what field you’re in. The essays in the book connect many dots between the two topics, and show the reader in different ways how achieving gender equality and protecting the planet from environmental destruction isn’t two opposing battles, but rather two sides of the same coin.
In addition to emphasizing the importance of topics already deemed vital for a sustainable environment future for both nature and people, such as education for girls and gender-balanced leadership in communities, the book also features less familiar issues such as gender-inclusive infrastructure and architecture. In Chapter 3, Susan Buckingham, gender researcher and feminist geographer, discusses the very interesting aspects of how “surveyors, planners, civil engineers, architects and other built environment-related professions are predominantly male and, arguably, masculinist” – as in not taking into account the needs of women in a city, as compared to men. Two of the examples she uses are lighting and single use areas, such as city centres with office buildings only; women tend to feel unsafe in areas that are not well-lit and/or empty at night, as they are more likely than men to be victims of rape and sexual assault in such places. Suburban to inner-city transport is another example, as less women than men have a driver’s license and their own cars, and rely more heavily on public transport - even if they have a more complicated transport routine as the primary carers for children and elderly family members.
All in all, The Doyennes wholeheartedly recommend that you read Why Women Will Save the Planet – it’s informative, inspiring and educational, an excellent first read if you’re just starting to explore the connections between feminism and environmentalism, but also great for more experienced readers of these topics, as it features so many incredibly wise leaders and thinkers, which you’re sure to learn something from!