Gender, Environment and Sustainability: The Journey from ‘Silent Spring’ to ‘Staying Alive’

Gender, Environment and Sustainability


The globally shared vision for sustainable development has a strong gender dimension that highlights the need to continue identifying gender equality and women’s empowerment as a core development goal. Since women have different rights (formal and traditional) over resources and decisions governing them than men do, a gender differentiated approach is required to redress some of the inequities. A woman’s position in the family and community, and her political participation, determine to a large extent her control over environment-related decisions. The roles and contributions of certain women environmentalists - Rachael Carson, Gaura Devi, Wangari Maathai, Vandana Shiva, Medha Patkar and others are discussed in view of environmental stability and sustainability. Considering different global initiatives, taking women’s needs into account and strengthening women’s leadership and participation in environment and sustainability crises is vital. Women can be powerful actors for change in the transition to sustainable energy and their involvement in the design, distribution, management and consumption of resources can go a long way in reaching internationally agreed development goals.

Keywords: Sustainable Development, environmental stability, gender equality, resource management, women environmentalists


Download data is not yet available.


Agarwal B., (1992). The Gender and Environment Debate: Lessons from India, in “Feminist Studies”, 18, 1, Spring, 119-158.
Agarwal B., (1994). A Field of One’s Own: Gender and Land Rights in South Asia, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge
Biehl J., (1991). Rethinking Ecofeminist Politics, South End Press, Boston.
Birkeland J.,(1993). Ecofeminism: Linking Theory and Practice, in G. Gaard (ed.), Ecofeminism: Women, Animals and Nature, Temple University Press, Philadelphia
Bora, ZM and Sivaramakrishnan, M. (2019). Narratives of Environmental Challenges in Brazil and India Losing Nature; Lexington Books
Boserup E. (1970).: Woman's Role in Economic Development. Male and female farming systems. pp 15-65.
Brinker R. (2009). Dr. Vandana Shiva and Feminist Theory, Conference on Earth Democracy: Women, Justice and Ecology.
Carson R. (1962). Silent Spring, Houghton Mifflin, Boston.
Griswold. E. (2012). How ‘Silent Spring’ Ignited the Environmental Movement. The New York Times Magazine, Sept. 21
Jarvis, K., (2006). ‘Silent Spring’ TAMUCC
Koch W., (2012). "Carson's 'Silent Spring' Spurred Environmental Movement" in USA Today
Maathai W., (2004). The Green Belt Movement: Sharing the Approach and the Experience, Lantern Books.;
Neefjes K, (2000). Environments and Livelihoods, Strategies for Survival Oxfam, Oxford.
Rao M. (2012). Ecofeminism at the Crossroads in India: A Review.
Schultz Irmgard; et al. (2001). Research on Gender, the Environment and Sustainable Development. Institut für Sozial-ökologische
Sen S. (2008). The Hills Are Alive. Education Today (Centenary Issue), 54-57.
Sen S, (2011a). From Abundance to Scarcity: Education for Water Conservation, Seminar Proceedings of “Emerging Trends in Contemporary Education : Implications for 21st Century - A Sequel,” 78-82.
Sen S. (2011b). Blueprint for Sustainability : The Many Faces of Resource Management, Seminar Proceedings of “Sustainable Resource Management : Myth or Reality,” 76-83.
Sen S. (2013). From Conflict to Cooperation : ‘Water for Life’. Musings, 4, 17-21.
Sen S. (2014a). Towards Sustainability : Blueprint for Resource Management, Seminar Proceedings of “Progress in Science vis-à-vis Environment” pp. 56-63.
Sen S. (2014b). Changing Perspectives In Biodiversity Management : The Indian Context, Journal of Environment and Sociobiology, 11(1), 117-122.
Sen S. (2015a). Sustainable Resource Management: Myth or Reality” in Biodiversity, Conservation and Sustainable Development: Issues and Approaches
Volume-1 (Ed. Dr. P. Jha), New Academic Publishers, New Delhi-110002,
Sen S. (2015b). “Journey to Sustainability : Approaches for Resource Conservation – Retrospect & Prospect” in Environmental History of India, Publ. Print Gallery, Dr. M. Ray (ed.) pp. 48-65.
Shiva V. (1988). Staying Alive, London: Zed. Shiva V., Staying Alive: Women, Ecology and Survival in India, Kali for Women, New Delhi.
UNEP (2004): Women and the Environment
UNEP: Gender and Environment
Wichterich C. (2000). The Globalized Woman: Reports from a Future of Inequality. London: Zed
52 Views | 53 Downloads
How to Cite
Sen, S. (2020). Gender, Environment and Sustainability: The Journey from ‘Silent Spring’ to ‘Staying Alive’. International Journal of Advancement in Life Sciences Research, 3(2), 11-22. Retrieved from
Review Articles