A good place to start this discussion is to explain that there is a lack of research on gender and climate change. This is not surprising, since there is a well documented case of gender blindness in the environmental social sciences in general (cf. Banerjee and Bell 2007). There has also been an almost total

avoidance of environmental issues by feminist academics in recent years. If conference themes and journal articles are anything to go on, climate change is not on the academic feminist agenda. I conducted a CSA Illumina (CSAI) citation search of 20 feminist journals from 1990 to the present, using the keywords ‘climate change’ and ‘global warming’ (in the ‘words anywhere’ box). Surprisingly, my search resulted in a total of just 10 articles. This avoidance may be explained by the fact that feminists historically have been wary of the gender politics of the environment because its focus on ‘nature’ treads too close into biological determinist territory for feminist comfort (for a discussion see Alaimo 2000). The exception is the small and marginal branch of feminist theory called ecofeminism,1 which has as its central concern the connections and intersections between the historic domination/exploitation of the environment by humans and the oppression/exploitation of women by men. Ecofeminist theorists have developed important, critical analyses of the gender politics of the environment (see, for example, Plumwood 1993, 2002; Haraway 1991, 1996; Warren 2000). However, unfortunately ecofeminism has been unfairly caricatured and associated with some essentialist ideas about women’s unique relationship with nature that have led most feminists to avoid it altogether (Davion 1994).2

As I discuss elsewhere (MacGregor 2009), this is bad news for feminism: by throwing the ecofeminist baby out with the essentialist bathwater, feminism has been left incapable of (uninterested in?) addressing the kinds of political issues that societies face in the wake of climate change. Ecofeminism is the only theoretical perspective that makes the exploitation of the non-human world-and the biosphere on which all human life depends-a feminist issue. The small amount of research that exists on gender and climate change has been

conducted by ecofeminists, Gender, Environment and Development (GED) scholars, and by feminist researchers working for government ministries, the UN and women’s environmental organizations.3 My CSAI citation search found that most of the articles on gender and climate change are in a special issue of the journal Gender and Development from July 2002.4 A brief review of that special issue provides a good synthesis of the main themes, as well as some of the shortcomings, in the fledgling gender and climate change literature. To demonstrate the lack of attention to gender in climate change research,

Margaret Skutsch (2002, 30) conducted ‘a scan of a number of prominent journals dedicated to the climate issue [which] reveals not a single article on the gender-differentiated implications of climate change in recent years’. She also notes that neither the Kyoto Protocol nor the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (the two most important treaties on climate change) actually mention the words ‘gender’ or ‘women’. There is a consensus among the contributors to the Gender and Development issue that the gender dimensions of climate change have been neglected by policy-makers. Not much appears to have changed since 2002. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the main source of climate science and policy research upon which governments around the world rely when setting national targets and making policies to address climate change. I searched (using the ‘Find’