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Women in the Environmental Movement, Past and Present

Chelsea Burns, Content Editor

March 7, 2023

International Women’s Day is a day meant to honor women but also bring attention to women's rights and the issues that women are still facing today. As a female-founded company with just over 80% of our employees identifying as female, this day and honoring women is especially important to us.

Because Blueland’s mission is to make eco easier for everyone, we thought it was important to highlight, the eco gender gap. What is the eco gender gap? Well, A study done with female identifying and male identifying participants in the UK found that 71% of women were increasing their commitment to ethical living while just 59% of the men said they had been living more ethically. One of the analysts on the study from Mintel concluded that “men are less likely to pursue environmentally-friendly behaviors than their female counterparts.”

While this may seem like grim news to some, and we do believe that climate justice should be equal across all genders, we also find these numbers to be empowering—women hold the power in the eco movement! Which somewhat comes as no surprise when you take a look back at the eco movement throughout history and recognize all of the incredible work women have done to pave the way for a greener future. Here’s a little more about a small sampling of the women we’re honoring today in celebration of March being Women’s History Month.

Lois Gibbs
A mother on a mission, Gibbs’ movement started simply out of wanting better for her children and their community when she found out her son’s elementary school was built on a toxic waste site. After years of activism, her neighborhood was evacuated for a mass cleanup and the EPA instituted a program to locate and clean up contaminated sites like hers across the country.

Wangari Maathai
Embracing the connections between gender inequality and environmental issues, Maathai founded the Greenbelt Movement, a movement that taught women sustainable land use practices. Since its inception, the movement has trained over 30,000 women and planted more than 51 million trees, an achievement that led to her Nobel Peace Prize Award—the first African American woman to do so.

Vandana Shiva
Shiva is a leader in the sustainable agriculture movement with her organization, Navdanya, which was founded to protect biodiversity with an emphasis on native seed protection. She is also a proponent of the link between women’s rights and environmental issues and the importance of women in agriculture.

Mary Amdur
Known as the “mother of air pollution toxicology,” Dr. Amdur was a toxicologist by trade who exposed hazards of smog and air pollution through her lifelong research around how the interactions of particles and gases in smog affected the lungs of humans and animals. Dr. Amdur’s air pollution research was groundbreaking. Her work influenced amendments to the Clean Air Act in 1966 and the development of the Air Quality Act of 1967, which expanded federal authority to regulate air pollution.


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