Confirm the special vulnerability of women in environmental conflicts

2023/06/05 Galarraga Aiestaran, Ana - Elhuyar Zientzia Iturria: Elhuyar aldizkaria

Woman and child pouring corn on a high. Down, Quito (Ecuador) Ed. Diego Delso/CC-BY-SA

Nature Sustainability has received murders, transfers, repression, criminal prosecution and physical harassment of environmental female entrepreneurs. In particular, 523 cases have been analysed in the Environmental Justice Atlas (API tlas) on environmental conflicts since 2022. Most were in Latin America, Asia and Africa, but also in North America and Europe. And they have warned that often, when victims are women, they are not documented.

According to the article, the extraction of natural resources for export is a source of conflict. Communities in the territory where resources are located are often militarily dominated and violence against environmental protection practices. In addition, the extraction of material resources endangers the cultural, spiritual and physical property of communities. The authors use the word ecocide to define this destruction.

The Atlas of Environmental Justice presents conflicts over water, fossil fuels, agriculture and deforestation, among others. Researchers have identified 523 environmental activists claiming to belong mostly to the geographic south. 81 cases of women killed: 19 in the Philippines and others in Brazil, Colombia, Mexico… However, in the north there are no safe women: 6 murders in the USA and Europe.

In addition to the killings, they have analysed persecution, criminalisation and sexual violence, and have warned that they are probably more frequent than the cases collected, which are often undervalued and concealed. They also point out that many women are victims of domestic abuse, i.e. in the event of mobilizations or demonstrations.

In any case, the special vulnerability of women to any type of violence is highlighted, from the consequences of impoverishment of communities to sexual harassment. On the other hand, they stress that violence is of interest because when indigenous women are involved negotiations and violence against them are of a different nature.