Sustainability: a woman’s market?

Everyday we are confronted by climate change. Catastrophe after catastrophe. Luckily, humanity has not given up hope yet. Countries and companies are putting more effort into creating a better world for tomorrow. Of course, it is not just countries and companies wanting to take care of the family. It is the common people, like us, that try to change their way of living, maybe even a little, to ensure a better future. However, I have recently noticed that this sustainable way of living is mostly focused on women. But why is that exactly?

As a woman, I have noticed more and more sustainable products are being produced everyday. From eco-friendly period products, to plastic-free cosmetics, it seems that all these sustainable products tend to be targeted towards women. Yet, there is still a gap in marketing that is leaving men out of the picture of sustainability. And as mentioned before, it is not just the companies trying to be more environment-friendly. According to the Mintel Press Office, it seems that women are more interested in sustainability than men. Moreover, according to Mintel’s research from 2018, 71% of women in Britain are increasing their commitment to ethical living while only 59% of men in Britain have been trying to live more ethically. Mintel has dubbed this difference in devotion to living environment-friendly the Eco Gender Gap. Even in environment-friendly activities, like recycling or trying to use less water, it still appears that women are more likely to partake in these activities.

But how did this difference in devotion occur? It could be rooted in the traditional ways of living of old. According to Mintel, women are still more likely to be in charge of the household. From buying groceries, to doing the laundry and cleaning, it seems that women are typically expected to take care of the house and its inhabitants. But this Eco Gender Gap is not only due to traditional values like these, but might also be due to fragile masculinity. According to Mintel, the reason why men might be more disconnected from trying to live environment-friendly could be due to ‘men feeling that caring for the environment somehow undermines their masculinity.’ So it appears that sustainability is not only an environment issue but also an issue regarding gender equality. Or rather, gender inequality.

While there are still some difficulties in the environment-friendly market, we are certainly improving everyday. Although there seems to be an unequal devotion, we could all learn to take care of our planet a bit more. And yes, even as a student you can do a lot more than you think! While some products are needed more by certain people than others, there are still loads of environment-friendly things you can do everyday. For example, just take a look at your daily life. How much energy or water do you typically use? Or how much trash do you typically generate in a day? Living environment-friendly does not have to be difficult life. Just by replacing your plastic water bottle to a more durable one or simply going somewhere with your bike or public transport instead of your car, you can make a difference.

So next time you go shopping, rethink your actions; do you really need it? And if you do, is it going to last long? And while you’re at it, try encouraging your friends to join you in living a more environment-friendly life.