Gender and Environment analysis – May 2018

[This is a narrative summary of the Gender and Environment analysis undertaken by EcoContact in support of the gender-mainstreaming efforts. The detailed interpretation of the data collected, including the results of the gender and environment questionnaires, is included in the full Gender analysis, which is not available to the general public. Any references to the below analysis should contain the proper disclaimers.]

Aim and structure

The analysis seeks to identify gender gaps in the environment sector in Moldova and further to adjust EcoContact’s projects and activities in order to diminish the gaps. The analysis focuses on the formal and informal constraints, role divisions and access to and control over resources of women and men in Moldova in the environmental sector. The analysis covers a series of sectors (demographics, economic activities, health etc.) relevant for the environmental field and based on the existing data identifies/make assumptions on existing gender gaps.

Formal constraints

The analysis starts with an overview of existing formal constraints and revise national legislation in the field of gender and environment. Thus, gender discrimination is prohibited by law[1], and this can be extrapolated to all sectors and activities, including environmental-related activities. The Equality Strategy contains an environmental-related area of intervention, but the set objectives and expected results are not very ambitious. Climate change Strategy pictures the different impact of climate change natural calamities on different sectors and regions, but lacks gender-disaggregated approach. The overall national legal framework in the field of environment does not contain information on the different needs that women, men, boys and girls face and even more there is not mentioned any intentions to identify those needs.

Informal constraints and data collection tools

Further on, the analysis uses existing scarce statistical data, studies, publications to trace some gender gaps assumptions for the environmental sector[2]. In order to fill in the data gap, EcoContact has developed a Gender and Environment questionnaire, which aim was to confirm/deny or identify new gender gaps in the environmental sector. The questionnaire was disseminated among EcoContact’s beneficiaries during March-April 2018. The questionnaire was elaborated as a pilot tool to identify gender gaps in the perception of environmental problems. The questionnaire disaggregates data based on gender, age, urban/rural, region, area of professional activity and language.

The questionnaire was offered to EcoContact beneficiaries to be filled in during March-April 2018.

During the questioning period, 150 beneficiaries (70 men, 80 women) filled in the questionnaire, which represents a sample of 16% (out of 927 beneficiaries reached by EcoContact in 2017). The results of the questionnaire are representative only for EcoContact beneficiaries, that represent mainly environment NGOs and the profile government sector.

N.B. The data from the questionnaire cannot be extrapolated nationally or to other sample of beneficiaries!

Figure 1: Gender gaps between Men and Women among EcoContact’s beneficiaries

The results of the questionnaire show that there are no big gender gaps between men and women among our beneficiaries (Figure 1). The biggest gaps can be seen in the perception of environmental risks:

  1. Women are more affected/concerned by air (GG[3] -15%) and soil pollution (GG – 8%), while men – by water pollution (GG – 9%)
  2. More women than men believe that their professional activity is not exposed to environmental risks (GG – 12%), while more men believe that their professional activity is relatively exposed (GG – 13%)

Figure 2: Gender gaps among South Women and Men among EcoContact’s beneficiaries

However, the gaps get bigger if we take into account other segregation criteria. For example, there are several  gender gaps identified between South women and men. One of them refers to the sources of obtaining environmental information: More South men receive environmental information from the City Hall and TV (GG – 18-34%) (Figure 2).

Another example in this sense, would be the gender gaps identified between young rural men and women. Thus, more young rural women are partially exposed to climate change risks (GG – 24-41%), while more young rural men are highly exposed to such risks (GG – 57%) (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Gender gaps between young rural men and women among EcoContact’s beneficiaries

Although these gaps cannot be extrapolated, the information gathered from the questionnaires confirmed several gender gaps identified through external data on gender and environment.

Gender gaps

Taking into account both data collection tools (external data and questionnaire data) several gender gaps in the environmental sector have been identified:

  1. Knowledge and Awareness: [Women are more environmentally educated (more aware of the need to do something in the environmental field), while men are more knowledgeable on climate change matters (with the exception of young rural men who are less knowledgeable about their environmental rights)]
  2. Community involvement: [More women than men are active in environmental and community activities at the local level]
  3. Economic empowerment: [Women will less invest in green economy activities]
  4. Environmental risks by the field of professional activity: [Men are more exposed to environmental risks in their professional activity]
  5. Environmental risks: [Women are more affected by air pollution, while men by water and soil pollution] [Women are more exposed to chemicals used for household activities and cosmetics, while men to chemicals used for agriculture pesticides]
  6. Leadership and decision-making in the environmental field: [More men than women have key decision-making positions in the environmental sector]
  7. Environmental rights: [More young rural men don’t know their environmental rights] [Adult urban women have their environmental rights infringed]
  8. Health risks: [Men are more affected by climate change from health perspective]

Moreover, the gender questionnaire allowed for the identification of EcoContact’s beneficiary profile which is the following: Adult rural man/woman affected by water pollution, which lacks water resources, works in the governmental sector and whose environmental rights are infringed.

The findings are not exhaustive and there is still lack of sex-disaggregated data for a series of environment-relevant sectors (such as agriculture (including organic one), emissions by sector, climate change impact (particularly how floods, droughts, hail and other extreme-weather conditions affect men and women, boys and girls), environmental rights infringements etc.). Thus, the identified gender gaps are based on assumptions that should be further confirmed or denied.

Root cause analysis

Some of the identified gender gaps and the EcoContact’s beneficiary profile can be used to mainstream EcoContact’s further projects and activities. These refer to environmental information and rights (Aarhus Center cluster) and to environmental risks, economic empowerment and community involvement (SDGs cluster). In order to better perceive the complexity of these gaps, a root cause analysis (based on general perceptions and social norms) was undertaken. Thus, the gender gaps in environment are formed based on other gender gaps from other sectors, such as: education, business, political/decision-making sector, health sector and the existing social norms and distribution of roles among men and women.

  1. Knowledge and Awareness: Women are more environmentally educated (more aware of the need to do something in the environmental field), while men are more knowledgeable on climate change matters, because:
    • More men than women have a degree in technology and innovation, thus, more men than women can understand climate change and its technical peculiarities
    • However, more women than men are concerned of climate risks, because, women are more in charge of the health situation of the whole family
  2. Environmental rights: More young rural men don’t know their environmental rights. Adult urban women have their environmental rights infringed, because:
    • More women than men choose a degree in Humanities (including a law degree), and consequently more women than men understand that their rights are infringed
    • More men than women choose to fight for their rights
  3. Environmental risks: Women are more affected by air pollution, while men by water and soil pollution. Women are more exposed to chemicals used for household activities and cosmetics, while men to chemicals used for agriculture pesticides, because:

3.1.More men than women are affected by soil and water pollution, because more men than women work in agriculture[4]

3.2. More women than men are affected by air pollution[5], because more women than men are concerned of climate risks and more men than women use cars (so, men will be less predisposed to talk about air pollution)

3.3. Women are more exposed to chemicals used for household activities and cosmetics, because more women than men do the household activities

3.4. Men are more exposed to chemicals used for agriculture pesticides, because more men work in agriculture[6]

3.5. Men professional activity is more exposed to environmental risks, while women are more exposed to environmental risks in the household activities[7]

  1. Economic empowerment: Women will less invest in green economy activities because:
    • Women earn less than men[8]
    • The share of women entrepreneurs is at 27.5%, with women who wish to start their own business facing many barriers[9].
    • More men than women are willing to use renewable energy, to shift to electric cars and raise the taxes for the use of fossils[10]
  2. Community involvement: More women than men are active in environmental and community activities at the local level because:
    • More women than men are concerned of climate risks, because, women are more in charge of the health situation of the whole family
    • There are less women in key decision-making position[11], however these can be find in the executive position (doing community work)[12]

EcoContact gender-mainstreaming efforts

In order to strengthen the capabilities of the organization in gender aspects, a mechanism to collect and process gender data will be developed. The mechanism will allow to identify a gender niche relevant for EcoContact’s activity, will serve as base for argumentation and will allow to measure the impact of EcoContact’s activities in diminishing gender gaps. At the initial phase, EcoContact will focus on strengthening internal capabilities in gender aspects, by involving more staff and hired experts in gender-mainstreaming process and expanding the knowledge (through trainings, and on-going activities) in the field of Gender and Environment. The necessary gender equality internal policies and procedures will be developed.

Further on, EcoContact will gradually involve NGOs focused on gender issues in the public consultations processes on environmental matters. Additionally, the environmental information disseminated by EcoContact will take into account the different information channels preferred by women and men.

At the next level, NGOs focused on gender issues will be involved in the implementation and development of environment projects at the local level that will contribute to the decrease of gender gaps in the environmental field.  These NGOs will also be involved in aligning local actions and policy documents with environmentally related SDGs. The partnerships with NGOs focused on gender issues will make them aware of the gender gaps in the field of environment and will help EcoContact to better identify these gaps. Moreover, this might contribute to the long-term collaboration of the local authorities and gender NGOs when drafting and adopting environmental decisions.

At the next stage, EcoContact intends to develop a methodology of including gender aspects in environmental projects. The methodology will be based on EcoContact’s experience and will aim to share this experience among partners and beneficiaries.

[For any additional information or any feedback on the analysis please contact us at e.valcu@vox.md] 

Reference list:

[1] Legea cu privire la asigurarea egalitatii – 25.05.2012 http://lex.justice.md/md/343361/

[2] For more details on the findings please see the detailed gender analysis part

[3] Gender gap

[4] Based on gender questionnaire results

[5] Based on gender questionnaire results

[6] Portretul statistic al femeilor si barbatilor din RM (2015) http://www.statistica.md/newsview.php?l=ro&idc=168&id=5106&parent=0

[7] Based on gender questionnaire results

[8] Portretul statistic al femeilor si barbatilor din RM (2015) http://www.statistica.md/newsview.php?l=ro&idc=168&id=5106&parent=0

[9] UNDP Moldova, http://www.md.undp.org/content/moldova/en/home/gender-equality.html

[10] IMAS – Cunostintele populatiei despre schimbarile climatice – Octombrie 2017

[11] Portretul statistic al femeilor si barbatilor din RM (2015) http://www.statistica.md/newsview.php?l=ro&idc=168&id=5106&parent=0

[12] EcoContact internal records.

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