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« Involvement of women and men in preserving the environment »

Modified on 2013/05/16 14:19 by Haoyi Chen Paths: Read in Order Categorized as Chapter 2 - Environment
From gender issues to gender statistics on the management of the environment: illustrative examples

Policy-relevant questions Data needed Sources of data
Are women underrepresented in high-level decision-making related to environmental issues? Managerial positions in environment ministries or environment-related ministries (such as forestry, fisheries, energy, urban planning, water and sanitation or agriculture) by sex of holder and type of ministry.

Positions in national coordinating bodies related to environment, climate change, or desertification by sex
Administrative sources
Are women as likely as men to be enrolled or graduate from environment-related fields of study (such as environment, water, agriculture, forestry, energy)? Number of students in tertiary education by detailed fields of study and sex

Number of tertiary graduates by detailed fields of study and sex
School administrative sources
Are women more involved than men in sustainable consumption and environmentally-friendly behaviour such as recycling, saving water, saving energy, or buying of eco-friendly products?

Do women use public transportation for commuting more often than men?


Are women more often than men active members of local NGOs involved in environmental protection?
Distribution of adult population by sex and various types of self-reported behaviour related to environment protection



Distribution of adult population and population using public transportation for commuting by sex.

Distribution of adult population by sex and active membership in local NGOs related to environment protection
Population-based surveys, including opinion and value surveys




Population-based surveys, including opinion and value surveys; public transport usage survey

Population-based surveys, including opinion and value surveys

  • + Gender issues
    • Women are under-represented in environmental education and environmental high-level decision-making. Women are still not electing to enter education programmes related to environment that may be perceived as “male” types. In many countries, women are underrepresented among students in tertiary education and graduates in fields of study related to the environment, such as environment protection, forestry, agriculture, water and sanitation, energy, or life sciences. Furthermore, women tend to be underrepresented among professional occupations that may be connected to environment, such as life sciences, agriculture, or certain domains of engineering. Adult women and men may also have different access to non-formal adult education and training, and information and technology. Finally, at high-level decision-making, women represent a minority of managerial positions in environment ministries and they have a low share among the members of other environment-related national coordinating bodies (United Nations, 2010).

      Women and men may also have different roles in protecting the environment at community and domestic levels of decision-making, in local non-governmental or grass roots organizations and through day-to day activities (UNDP, 2011). Often, women and men are not equally represented in the management of local natural resources. Their representation in local non-governmental or grass roots organizations related to environment may also be unequal. Furthermore, women’s and men’s day-to-day choices may have a differentiated impact on environment. For example, in some developed countries, women tend to recycle more often than men; they tend to choose public transport for commuting; and when they get a car they choose smaller, less polluting and more efficient cars (OECD, 2008).

  • + Data needed
    • Managerial positions in environment ministries or environment-related ministries (such as forestry, fisheries, energy, urban planning, water and sanitation, or agriculture) by sex of holder and type of ministry

      Members in national coordinating bodies related to environment, climate change or desertification by sex

      Enrolment in tertiary education by sex and detailed fields of study (such as environment, water, agriculture, forestry, energy)

      Graduates of tertiary education by sex and detailed fields of study (such as environment, water, agriculture, forestry, energy)

      Participation in non-formal education or training related to environment, by sex

      Active members of local NGOs or grass-roots organizations related to environment by sex

      Members of local managing groups of community natural resources such as local forests or local watersheds by sex.

      Population regularly involved in sustainable consumption and environmentally-friendly behaviour such as recycling, water saving, energy saving, use of eco-friendly products, proper garbage disposal by sex.

      Adult population and population using public transportation for commuting by sex.



  • + Sources of data
    • Population surveys, including opinion and value surveys, can be used to collect data on (a) involvement of population in sustainable consumption and environmentally-friendly behaviour, such as: recycling, water saving, energy saving, use of public transportation for commuting, proper garbage disposal; (b) active membership in environment-related local NGOs; and (c) participation in non-formal education and training related to the environment. As the proportion of people involved in this kind of activities can be quite small, it is important that the survey chosen to integrate these questions has a sample large enough to disaggregate the results not only by sex but also by other characteristics such as age, educational attainment, urban/rural areas or geographic areas.

      School administrative sources can provide data on students and graduates disaggregated by sex and detailed fields of study.

      Other administrative sources may be used to obtain sex-disaggregated data on managerial positions in environment ministries, or membership in relevant national coordinating bodies.

      Community surveys, often conducted at the same time with multi-topic household surveys, can be a rich source of data on participation of women and men in the local management of environmental resources, such as local forests or large watersheds. They may also be able to provide data on sex distribution of members in local groups involved in environmental protection.

      When available, public transport usage surveys may be able to provide data on women and men using public transportation for commuting.


  • + Conceptual and measurement issues
    • Collection of data on involvement in the management of the environment is not usually part of the regular programme in national statistical offices. However, it can be integrated in (a) existing multi-purpose household surveys; (b) existing data collections on education from administrative sources by requesting detailed fields of study for tertiary education students and graduates; (c) data collections on women and men in positions of decision-making in environment or environment-related ministries.

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