Women and the Environment

The state of today’s environment is a direct consequence of economic and social factors. Most decisive of these factors are poverty and the rapid population growth that result to the destruction of forests and pollution of water and air. It is deemed that the role of women is critical in combating poverty and controlling population in order to work for the protection of the environment and natural resources (ENR) and achieve sustainable development.

Though women may also be agents of environmental degradation by the nature of their activities and responsibilities, they have an equally significant impact on environmental conservation due to their multiple roles. Women’s day-to-day activities such as growing, collecting or buying food, tending domestic animals, gathering wood and water, and caring for children and the home have provided them with special knowledge of the environment. 

The international community recognizes the role of women in ENR utilization and preservation that it has endorsed several plans of action for the full integration of women in all development activities. The Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA) for one has included gender inequalities in the management of natural resources and in the safeguarding of the environment under one of its critical areas of concern. The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) called on governments to integrate a gender perspective into the design, implementation, monitoring, evaluation and reporting of national environmental policies.

For its part, the Philippines has adopted the Philippine Strategy for Sustainable Development that serves as a framework for natural resources management and environmental protection. The Strategy’s key elements include conservation, proper pricing of natural resources, property rights reform, population management, rural development, and citizen’s participation.