Bread and Roses: A Gender Perspective on Environmental Justice and Public Health

Karen Bell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)
607 Downloads (Pure)


Gender continues to be a relatively marginal issue in environmental justice debates and yet it remains an important aspect of injustice. To help redress the balance, this article explores women’s experience of environmental justice through a review of the existing literature and the author’s prior qualitative research, as well as her experience of environmental activism. The analysis confirms that women tend to experience inequitable environmental burdens (distributional injustice); and are less likely than men to have control over environmental decisions (procedural injustice), both of which impact on their health (substantive injustice). It is argued that these injustices occur because women generally have lower incomes than men and are perceived as having less social status than their male counterparts as a result of entwined and entrenched capitalist and patriarchal processes. In the light of this analysis, it is proposed that environmental justice research, teaching, policy and practice should be made more gender aware and feminist orientated. This could support cross-cutting debates and activities in support of the radical social change necessary to bring about greater social and environmental justice more generally.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1005
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number10
Early online date12 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016

Bibliographical note

Special Issue: Environmental Justice Research: Contemporary Issues and Emerging Topics


  • equality
  • women
  • discrimination
  • environment
  • hazards
  • decision-making
  • feminism
  • ecology
  • capitalism
  • patriarchy


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