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  1. 1

    Environmental issues of special concern to women and children. Discussion note.

    United Nations Environment Programme [UNEP]

    [Unpublished] 1992. Presented at the International Conference on Population and Development [ICPD], 1994, Expert Group Meeting on Population and Women, Gaborone, Botswana, June 22-26, 1992. 5, [1] p. (ESD/P/ICPD.1994/EG.III/DN.17)

    Environmental degradation is a universal concern, affecting such basic human needs as food and water. Consumption and population need to be managed in order to assure natural resource sustainability, worldwide survival, environmental protection, and global well-being. Women and children are affected differently in developed compared to developing countries. In developing countries survival is a struggle, and environmental damage affects women first through, for instance, increased workload or poor quality water. Children are affected, for instance, through increased mortality and disease. The most critical environmental problems affecting women and children are conditions that threaten provision of food, safe water, and fuel for cooking or warmth. Contaminated water supplies, lack of adequate sanitation, and overcrowded conditions increase the human, animal, and crop hazard. Water is contaminated by agricultural run-off, industrial waste deposits, and sewage. Protection of watersheds and water quality have implications for the many rural women dependent on farming for their livelihood. Chemical contaminants from pesticides and fertilizers are particularly harmful to pregnant or breast feeding women, if ingested. Hazardous wastes from urban and industrial areas provide other hazards to women and children. High energy consuming countries contribute to natural resource depletion and pollution from industrial releases into the air, water, and soil. Women in developing countries use fuelwood, which contributes to deforestation. The time and energy used to collect fuelwood diminishes human resources. Deforestation reduces supply and contributes to greenhouse gas build-up. Other fuel available, such as agricultural waste and dung, are used instead as important fertilizers, without which soil becomes degraded. Land degradation limits food production, contributes to malnutrition and desertification, and limits women's means of livelihood. Women have an important role in managing natural resources, which entitles them to participate in community decision making.
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  2. 2

    Work, consumption and authority within the household: a Moroccan case.

    Maher V

    In: Of marriage and the market: women's subordination internationally and its lessons. 2nd ed., edited by Kate Young, Carol Wolkowitz, and Roslyn McCullagh. London, England, Routledge, 1984. 117-35.

    The organization of work and consumption patterns of men and women was explored within the household among Berber-speaking people of the Middle Atlas region using data from a study of a cluster of hamlets which are attached to a small (11,000) Arabic-speaking town. The town's population consists of administrators, teachers, traders, and two battalions of soldiers. Approximately 2/3 of the hamlet populations is engaged in agriculture. There is a sexual division of labor in the hamlets between adult men and women. Women's work consists of the care of animals; the cultivation of subsistence crops; the processing and cooking of agricultural products; and the care of the house and its children, the aged and the sick. Women do not have access to money, so they are confined to qualitatively differentiated social roles. Women do not even control the income from their agricultural work. Female inheritance constitutes a threat for the patrilineal males. The husband becomes full guardian of his wife by paying bridewealth and may control her social contacts and her relations with her family of origin. In this survey, 52% of hamlet marriages ended in divorce compared with 28% of the town bridewealth-paying unions. At the time of divorce, a woman a claim only her personal belongings and half of that year's wheat crop. According to the etiquette followed when there are guests, and as a family routine, men and women eat separately. The neglect of children's special needs means that 70% of all deaths occur among children <14 years old. The marriage contract stipulates that a wife has a right to food, lodging, and a given sum of money for clothes. Anything else, such as medical expenses, are paid for by the woman's family of origin. In the province, only 10% of the girls of school age went to school. Since women are separated from money, their position worsens as household cash income increases, because of the diffusion of wage-earning and the more frequent sale of agricultural products. Women work more, consume relatively less, and are increasingly controlled by men.
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  3. 3

    Children, women and the environment.


    [Unpublished] 1991. [2], 15 p.

    The relationship among children, women, and the environment is approached within the framework of UNICEF. The impact of environmental degradation on children is greater and has longterm effects. An approach to the problem of environmental degradation is to focus on the well being of children and their mothers. Activities to improve well being involve household food security (techniques for improved and sustained crop yields and better food processing and storage), water and sanitation activities, household fuel security (agroforestry and fuel efficient stoves), and promotion and/or facilitation of breast feeding. The aforementioned "doable" activities alleviate the workload and contribute to better health for children. Other "doable" activities which contribute to well-being are formal and informal educational and advocacy, reduction of child mortality, and other health improvements (oral rehydration, immunization). The strategy is to provide interventions to improve conditions at the household and community levels along with social mobilization and encouragement of longterm self-reliance. The assumption is that high impact, low cost techniques with achievable actions can stimulate other local and national initiatives and empower communities. Underlying causes must be considered: poverty, consumption patterns. Discussion focuses on the underlying causes and conditions that need improvement and are "doable". Sustainability is augmented by social mobilization and advocacy. It is underscored that those without means for providing the basic necessities of life cannot be placed in the position of directly caring for the environment, because survival is at stake. Mobilization of governments, national and international organizations, and nongovernmental organizations and communities is needed. Solutions are complex so that even partial "doable" solutions demand immediate attention. Production techniques must be environmentally sustainable and sound for all countries. Integrated health and family planning are necessary for lowering birth and death rates and reducing pressure on limited resources. The goals must be perceived by local populations as a benefit because of a better standard.
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  4. 4

    Living in a sustainable world.

    Rowley J; Holmberg J

    In: Making development sustainable: redefining institutions, policy, and economics, edited by Johan Holmberg. Washington, D.C., Island Press, 1992. 321-46.

    This essay reviews life in a sustainable world from the perspectives of population policy in the South and patterns of consumption in the North. It is held to be essential that the rate of population growth and consumption decrease in a full world scenario. Examples are cited which show that primary environmental care, with the added focus on empowerment of women, can be a successful approach to promote family planning. The development of a new ethic or morality of consumption to change consumption patterns in the North is suggested. This process could be encouraged by governments helping to make prices reflect full environmental costs and providing increased incentives for the development of environmentally benign technologies.
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