Women’s Contribution to Food Production and Environmental Degradation in the Global South is often Underrated and Inaccurate
Women in the Global South are affected more significantly by food production and environmental concerns than in the Global North.
Vandana Shiva, is a powerful representation of a female eco-feminist activist in the Global South. She concentrates her initiatives in non-western environmentalism. Shiva does not see humans and nature as separate (indeed, that way of thinking is partially responsible for our ecological crisis); rather, she sees living creatures as interconnected to our “mother” earth.
“Women’s work is also invisible because women are concentrated outside market related or remunerated work and they are normally engaged in multiple tasks.
Science and technology have rendered women’s knowledge and productivity invisible by ignoring the dimension of diversity in agriculture production. As the FAO report on women feed the world mentions, women use more plant diversity, both cultivated and uncultivated, than agricultural scientists know about. In Nigerian home gardens, women plant 18 – 57 plant species. In Sub – Saharan Africa women cultivate as many as 120 different plants in the spaces alongside the cash crops managed by man.”
*Shiva, V. 1998. “Strengthening Women’s Capacity to Feed the World, 1998 World Food
Day Keynote Speech 16 October 1998 – Bangkok,
“We women, in all our vibrant and fabulous diversity, have witnessed the increasing aggression against the human spirit, human mind and human body and the continued invasion of an assault upon the Earth and all her diverse species. And we are enraged.“
The terms “Global North and Global South” do not represent separating the world into two geographical halves. It is a more holistic term including political and social, economic and political concepts. Specifically, low income, highly and densely populated, inadequate infrastructure and marginalization. Most of the “Global South” countries reside within the regions of Latin America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. Women and girls are more susceptible to the negative effects of environmental degradation.
“Women and girls usually have the responsibility of fetching water. This can be a dangerous, time-consuming and physically demanding task. Long journeys by foot, often more than once a day, can leave women and girls vulnerable to attack and often precludes them from school or earning an income. For women and girls, sanitation is about personal safety. Girls are at an increased risk of abuse and assault. Women and girls have specific hygiene needs. Lack of safely managed water and sanitation is an equality issue. Access to water and sanitation are human rights”. https://www.unwater.org/water-facts/water-and-gende. “Fewer than 50 countries have laws or policies that specifically mention women’s participation in rural sanitation or water resources management”. (UN-Water, 2021).”
The World Economic Forum
Agarwal is an ecofeminist like Hobgood-Oster, but she has a different perspective. identify the central differences and commonalities between ecofeminism from a Western perspective and a non-Western perspective.https://www.jstor.org/stable/317821
Considering both Hobgood-Oster and Bina Agarwal’s philosophies in terms of women and the environment, I would personally choose Agarwal’s philosophy over Hobgood-Oster’s.
I appreciate that Agarwal’s area of interest is heavily weighted towards rural economies. Her multi-disciplinary approach includes the land, the polices related to gender, inequality as well as poverty, property rights, agriculture and an interdisciplinary approach, to provide insights on land, livelihoods and property rights; environment and development; the political economy of gender; poverty and inequality; law; gender inequality, agriculture and technological change. She certainly is all inclusive and casts a wide net when assessing the problems that women in the Global South face related to environmental concerns and commodities.