Today, on the
International Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion, Friends of
the Earth activists are taking to the streets in Brussels to demand women’s
rights and bodily autonomy and the right to abortion for women across all
European countries and around the world.
Abortion is still
banned in Ireland and Malta, and highly restricted in Hungary and Poland.
Elsewhere, even where access to abortion is legally guaranteed, it can still be
denied in practice through the closure of abortion providers and funding cuts
for expert staff. And in all countries the right to abortion is regularly
threatened as right-wing reactionary politicians gain influence and use women’s
rights as bargaining chips to win the support of conservative sectors of
While the laws
governing abortion in Europe are currently controlled by member states, the
World March of Women are calling on the European Parliament today to ensure
access to safe and legal abortion in all European countries. Friends of the
Earth Europe supports this campaign and stands in solidarity with all women
across Europe in their struggles for autonomy and the right to make decisions
over their bodies, fertility, lives and work. We are committed to organising
for gender justice and the dismantling of the patriarchal system, since we know
that all liberation struggles are connected to one another in our fight for
environmental justice and system change.
300,000 women in Ireland will march to repeal legislation that criminalises
abortion, and call for reproductive justice. Below, three activists from the
Irish Ecofeminist Collective and Young Friends of the Earth Ireland share how
the feminist movement for women’s bodily autonomy is deeply connected to the
struggle for environmental justice.
on 30th of September, I will be marching with the Irish Eco-feminist
Collective for a woman’s right to choose.
Ecofeminism is a
theory which views the belief in a right to dominate others stems from the
belief in an inherent right to exploit and dominate the earth and other
species. To me, an ecofeminist perspective on the right to choose comes from US
black feminist activism which calls for a right to reproductive justice. To
paraphrase the words of Sister Song, reproductive
justice is the complete physical, mental, spiritual, political, social, sexual
and economic well-being of all people, based on the full achievement and
protection of the human rights of the marginalised.
It incorporates a
right to a safe and stable climate, a clean environment, a right to housing, a
right to your sexuality, social welfare, and structural actions by Government
to erode inequality. All these rights are steadily eroded by the pursuit of
profit at severe costs to human and environmental life.
As an eco-feminist
I fear a world where climate change makes ‘the good life’ impossible for
everyone but the rich and the powerful. A world of poisoned rivers, earth and
air, where only the wealthy can afford to protect and provide for their loved
ones. A world where land rights are for the few, owned by a 1% hiding
behind militarised borders on higher ground.
Feminism has been
massively influential in shaping the conversations around climate change. One
example is Naomi Klein, who describes herself as a ‘secular Jewish feminist’.
In an incredibly short space of time her book ‘This Changes Everything’ has
pushed the mainstream Green Movement to recognize how structural inequalities
caused, and prevent the solution to, climate change. After her work to
build a ‘Leap Manifesto’ with groups from across the political spectrum it now
seems inconceivable that environmentalists called for the end of fossil fuel
jobs without offering viable alternatives. We need to move fast, but we
won’t get there to the good life without taking people with us.
It’s time to
re-orient our economy and our ideologies to, as eco-feminist Donna Haraway
says, “Make Kin”. We must fight against our alienation from each other
and other forms of life. Fight against the false separation from our living
world and fight to create an economy and society that reflects the mutually
beneficial interdependence of our life on earth."
for environmental justice isn't only about protecting nature. It encompasses a
recognition that the troubles our planet is facing stem from a patriarchal,
capitalist view of how things should be, a view that subjugates both women and
nature. Feminism and valuing the environment cannot be disentangled.
Exploitation, dominance, subordination, oppression. All have been used as tools
to destroy the environment and diminish women in society. The environment is
not ours to plunder. Likewise, the lives of women should be determined by our
own choices, not those of unjust governments."
“I am an
ecofeminist, not because I believe women have some essentialist, natural link
to the environment, but because the under the oppressive system of capitalist
patriarchy women and nature are exploited, subjugated and objectified in the
same way. It is the same system that strips women of their bodily autonomy and
reproductive rights that violates the environment, a system of destruction in
pursuit of profit. A system that turns women, nature, non-westerners, workers
and indigenous people into the passive Other, that can be exploited. Socialized
gender roles mean women and men have a different interaction with the
environment, making it crucial we look at climate change through a gendered
lens. Environmental justice and gender justice go hand in hand because the root
cause of these issues is the same.
Friends of the Earth Europe