Date of Award

Spring 5-11-2022

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Environmental Studies


John Van Buren


This paper addresses the unique impacts of climate change on women and gender diverse people throughout the world, and seeks to move beyond identifying them solely as victims by instead focusing on their dynamic role in environmental activism while addressing the need for a gendered approach to climate policy. The inclusion of gender is often absent in much of environmental literature, which leaves women’s experience of climate change unseen and unaddressed. Beginning with a case study of the Indigenous women of Standing Rock and their battle against the Dakota Access Pipeline, this paper seeks to understand the critical involvement of women in climate change activism and investigates the proper policy initiatives required to build an equitable future for all marginalized groups. Chapter One provides quantitative data on the specific burdens women face from climate change-induced disasters, including increased sexual and gender-based violence, decreased access to education, and a heightened exposure to poverty. Chapter Two examines the economic implications of these risks through an ecofeminist lens, offering a critique of capitalist patriarchy. Chapter Three delves into the lack of a gendered approach in environmental research, policy, and law, and how this exclusion has left women more vulnerable to climate change. Further, this chapter will analyze the relationship between feminism, the patriarchy, and environmentalism in examining this exclusion. Chapter Four introduces the prominent leadership role women have taken in the grassroots environmental justice movement, specifically focusing on the work of BIPOC women. Finally, Chapter Five proposes policy initiatives that highlight the overlooked connections between gender and climate change while actively involving the voices and experiences of women in order to create a more equitable future.