In climate terms, toxic masculinity is, in fact, toxic.
This exhibition is a powerful response by 30 women and non-binary artists who operate at the intersection of creativity and social change.
With rage, sadness, hope and humour, the artists show us that patriarchy is not only bad for the culture - it’s destroying the environment, too.
Smash the patriarchy. Save the planet.
There is a gender gap in climate action
There is a well-evidenced gender gap in climate action. Or, to put it in more familiar terms: men are disappointing.
Multiple studies have found that women outperform men – across age group and country – in virtually every type of environmental behaviour:
- Women litter less, recycle more and are more likely to buy an electric car
- Women are also more likely to be concerned about the environment, and they vote accordingly
- And women leave a smaller carbon footprint
On the other hand:
- A study found that men were more likely to donate to an environmental charity with a ‘masculine logo’ (“black and dark blue colours featuring a howling wolf with the name ‘Wilderness Rangers’ in a bold font”) rather than a charity called ‘Friends of Nature’ with an image of a tree and green and light tan colours in the logo
- In another experiment, both male and female participants agreed that single-use plastic bags were more masculine than bringing a reusable canvas bag to the grocery store
Climate change is sexist
Even though women are proven to be the real planetary champions, as climate change intensifies everywhere – leading to extreme weather, water scarcity, crop failure, food insecurity and more – it is women, predominantly poor women of colour, who will suffer its most harmful effects:
- Women make up 80% of people displaced by climate change
- Women are 14 times more likely to die during natural disasters
- After the 2004 tsunami, a report found that surviving men outnumbered women by almost 3:1 in Sri Lanka, Indonesia and India
- As dry seasons grow longer, women in rural developing communities have to work harder, walk further and put their health at risk to feed and care for their families
- And women are more likely to be poorer, making it more difficult for them to recover after climate-related disasters
Amplifying women's voices
Women are often the eco-moral leaders of their families and communities. And yet, at every level of decision-making – from major international organisations to grassroots activism – their voices, ideas and energy are underrepresented, undervalued and taken for granted:
- Women are a minority on every major committee of the United Nation’s own top climate change decision-making group, the Framework Convention on Climate Change
- Women account for just over 20% of the authors on recent reports for the International Panel on Climate Change
- 70% of the presidents and board chairs of US environmental groups are men
- Women-led community initiatives often miss out on vital climate financing and grants because their projects aren’t considered large enough
- But, if women smallholders were given the same access to credit and tools as their male counterparts, they could grow 20-30% more food on the same amount of land – cutting two billion tons of emissions by 2050
What does this have to do with the patriarchy?
This is not about blaming individual men for their role in climate change. It's about recognising a complicated, connected set of facts:
- That men are beneficiaries of a damaging power structure (patriarchy) that has long oppressed women and tried to dominate the natural world.
- That men are also influenced by – and victims of – gendered social expectations (toxic masculinity) that lead them to make choices that harm the environment.
- And that, over hundreds of years and billions of people, these things have likely contributed to the acceleration of climate change on Earth, and the disproportionate suffering of the women who live on it.
- What the data shows is that the chronic and cumulative effects of patriarchy isn't only bad for society – it's bad for the planet, too.
Brought to you by Do The Green Thing
Thank you to AREA 17 for the design and build of this site.
Thank you to ASAI Hotels, D&AD, Impossible, Kamarama, Nice and Serious, Pentagram, Plenaire, Protein Studios, Somerset House, Women's Environment Network.