- The use of natural resources is not always allocated in the way that communities need to allocate their resources. Agarwal speaks on the environmental degradation in India saying how “Degradation in India’s natural resource base is manifest in disappearing forests, deteriorating soil conditions, and depleting water resources” (Agarwal 130). Just taking the lack of water resources into account we understand from the reading Water and Gender how women in particular have physiological needs that have to be met and water is key in keeping women clean and healthy. According to UNwater.org,“A clean, functional, lockable, gender-segregated space is needed, with access to sanitary products and disposal systems, for women and girls to manage menstrual hygiene and pregnancy” (“Water and Gender”). Not only as a matter of physical safety but physical health is also a huge part of the issue when looking at depleting water sources. While men are also affected by the issue there are specifically feminine gendered issues that intensify the issue.
- The western perspective of ecofeminism is summed up nicely by Hobgood-Oster in last week’s reading noting how “Ecofeminism suggests that the antagonism sometimes existing between religious and scientific worldviews has been detrimental, used by both approaches to advance their own hierarchical structures. The reductionist models of both Western theologies and many Western scientific ideologies project a material world that is not sacred, but mechanistic”(Hobgood-Oster 7). Western ecofeminists focus on the degradation of the environment in relation to women and how gendered issues are affected. The western world materializes or itemizes the resources that sustain their communities, making the natural resources quantifiable. Agarwal uses Shiva’s ideas of ecofeminism to depict an example of a non-western view of ecofeminism. “At the same time, Shiva notes that violence against women and against nature are linked not just ideologically but also materially” going on to explain how “Third World women are dependent on nature ‘for drawing sustenance for themselves, their families, their societies.’ The destruction of nature thus becomes the destruction of women’s sources for ‘staying’” (Agarwal 124). A commonality between western and non western ecofeminism is the critique of not noting intersectionality and grouping all women together as having the same experience. A universal feature of our world is class and Agarwal points out how “Although [Shiva] distinguishes Third World women from the rest, like the ecofeminists she does not differentiate between women of different classes, castes, races, ecological zones, and so on” (Agarwal 125).
- I find the perspectives discussed by Shiva and Agarwal to be the most interesting. Looking at the cause and effect of colonialism and western homogenization on the ecosystems and how in turn that affects culture and women in particular. The part that really caught my interest and got my thinking cap on was: “Shiva attributes existing forms of destruction of nature and the oppression of women (in both symbolic and real terms) principally to the Third World’s history of colonialism and to the imposition of Western science and a Western model of development” (Agarwal 125).
-Agarwal. “The Gender and Environment Debate: Lessons from India.” Feminist Studies, vol. 18, no. 1, 1992, pp. 119-158. JSTOR.
-Hobgood-Oster. “Ecofeminism: Historic and International Evolution.” 2002, pp. 1-18.
-“Water and Gender.” UN-Water, https://www.unwater.org/water-facts/water-and-gender. Accessed 12 February 2023.