Gender Equality and Climate Justice: A Cross-National Analysis

McKinney, Laura; Fulkerson, Gregory
September 2015
Social Justice Research;Sep2015, Vol. 28 Issue 3, p293
Academic Journal
The purpose of this paper is to gain empirical footing on the mechanisms that drive and mitigate global warming, which is a topic of growing significance to themes of social justice. Using components of the ecological footprint, we construct a measure of each nation's relative contributions to carbon dioxide emissions after accounting for the amount sequestered by domestic forestlands. We refer to this measure as the 'climate footprint,' and construct a structural equation model to test key theorizations in the environmental sociology literature. We add to this body of work by incorporating and empirically testing ecofeminist positions that the status of women is a cause and an effect of environmental conditions. Results suggest women and the environment are interconnected dimensions of exploitation, as ecological losses weaken women's status in nations. We also find that nations with greater female representation in governing bodies have lower climate footprints, controlling for domestic (urbanization, production) and global (world-system integration) drivers. Conclusions point to the potential for gender equality and improving the status of women worldwide to curtail climate change. Other theoretical and empirical implications are treated, including the benefits of bringing women into theories of the environment and the utility of structural equation techniques for testing hypotheses that specify direct and indirect connections among relevant predictors and the outcome.


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