This academic article examines the role of gender in environmental and water related crises and conflicts. The author highlights how the effects of environmental conflicts are not gender-neutral and offers a detailed analysis of the theoretical developments in the understanding of the relationship between sex, gender, the environment and vulnerability to conflict and crisis. The author draws together extensive theoretical insight to offer a conceptual framework for undertaking research on environmental crisis and conflict with a particular focus on intersectionality and gender.
The article outlines the differing theoretical accounts of sex and gender from biological essentialism to materialist and poststructuralist feminism. Each perspective is considered with regard to how it positions gender in research and responses to environmental crises and conflicts. The author then highlights feminist intersectionality as a useful framework for analysis.
The article considers how the theoretical debates on sex and gender have manifested in the literature on gender and the environment. Two approaches are highlighted as prominent in the literature, Feminist Political Ecology and work addressing the intersection of gender, disaster and climate change adaptation. The author argues that the biggest challenge for future feminist work on environmental crises is establishing a balance between acknowledging the influence of gender across time and space and engaging an intersectional perspective that adequately considers the local context.
The final section of the paper provides a detailed explanation of the author’s research framework which is designed to effectively engage gender and intersectionality in research on environmental crisis and conflict.