Deliver a feminist Just Transition
Ensure the transition is feminist by reorienting the economy to tackle climate change while investing in social infrastructure – embedding care in the Net Zero Industrial Strategy, including incorporating a gendered analysis into the plans for transition to net zero.
A Feminist Just Transition amplifies how the climate crisis is not equally felt, nor equally produced. Any response, mitigation or adaptation approach must recognise demographic intersections and how approaches can either entrench or remedy existing inequities, for instance, women and girls are disproportionately impacted by poverty worldwide, which reduces resilience to climate change. The current prioritisation on physical infrastructure transitions (e.g., Green New Jobs) in their current conceptualisation is likely to replicate existing social inequities, with women losing out due to already being under-represented in carbon-intensive industries.
The climate and inequality crises have the same root: an economic system that carelessly exploits for profit the earth’s resources and its people, especially women and marginalised groups. The system relies on care work (paid and unpaid) to produce, feed, clothe and look after a working population and keep economies running. Care work is often invisible, almost always undervalued and disproportionately performed by women. The same logic that sees this work as inexhaustible and a ‘natural’ function of being a woman, sees the earth itself as an infinite source of material, energy, food and water for consumption and profit, rather than a delicately balanced system that sustains all life. So, rewiring our economic system to care for people and planet is crucial.
There is a need to shift understanding of a Just Transition from simply re-skilling existing workers to carbon neutrality to critically evaluating what is considered work, who it is performed by and how it is valued overall. There is much to be done to transition to a low-carbon economy and an intersectional gendered analysis is a vital part of the planning process. This process should start in the policy development phase and be used as more detailed projects are developed. This analysis should also be built into monitoring and evaluation of policy outcomes to ensure that any negative unintended consequences can be mitigated.
Unless investment in much needed infrastructure change within housing, transport and construction is based on gender analysis throughout the policy planning process it will widen existing labour market gender inequality and deepen existing gendered occupational segregation. This analysis will enable policy makers to maximise the opportunities for poverty reduction that the transition presents and also ensure that inequalities are not entrenched through measures to transition the economy.
In light of the deepening climate and environmental emergency, and the need for an economy rooted in care for society and the planet, care can and should be regarded as an integral infrastructure. To do so, care should be embedded as a central component in the upcoming Net Zero Industrial Strategy to scale well paid, secure green jobs throughout Scotland’s economy, and rapidly and justly steward the economy towards sustainability to ensure it is fit for the future.
This policy creates jobs, contributes to gender justice and climate justice, and should be intersectional in nature.
For further information:
- A green and caring economy, UK Women’s Budget Group, 2022, https://wbg.org.uk/wp-content/ uploads/2022/11/A-Green-and-Caring-Economy-Report-FINAL.pdf
- Feminist Green New Deal, UK Women’s Budget Group, 2020, https://wbg.org.uk/wp-content/ uploads/2020/05/Feminist-Green-New-Deal.pdf
- Challenges for 2021 and beyond, Scottish Women’s Budget Group, 2020, https://www.swbg.org.uk/ content/publications/SWBG-Challenges-for-2021-and-Beyond.pdf
- Feminist Just Transition Discussion Paper, Scottish Women’s Budget Group, 2023 https://www.swbg.org.uk/content/publications/FJT-Discussion-Paper.pdf