Climate crisis and gender

The world faces a climate crisis, which is extremely unequal in nature: climate mitigation is primarily pursued by young girls and women, a group that is also disproportionately affected by climate change, as existing injustices and inequality are amplified in the wake of natural disasters. At the same time, men have a greater negative effect on the environment/climate, are most likely to deny the climate crisis and are largely in control of the resources we need to solve the problem.

Studies show that men are far less concerned than women are about the environment and the climate as consumers. A European comparison shows that Swedish men are the least concerned of all. Studies show that one reason that men do not pursue environmentally sound consumerism is that this is coded as a feminine trait.

We also know that men, to a greater degree than women, have a negative impact on the environment by:

  1. having a less green lifestyle – eating more red meat, driving more, flying more and wasting more energy in their daily lives.

  2. being more likely to place short-term financial concerns ahead of ecological sustainability.

  3. having a greater environmental footprint as they earn more money (and make less-environmentally informed decisions on how to use that money).

  4. being less willing to change their habits for the sake of the environment.

At the same time, the decision makers in both government policy and the corporate world, who are in control of and own most of the world’s resources, are usually men. This makes the climate crisis one of the most powerful expressions of inequality between the sexes in the contemporary era.

How is this related to masculinity norms? How can they be changed?

How can more men become part of the solution and contribute to equality and sustainability?

MÄN has developed and pilot tested a conversation guide about the climate to highlight the issue, so men cannot say they didn’t know. You’ll find Men in the Climate Crisis below. Read more about MÄN’s efforts for the climate.