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Women and the Environment

( Article Type: Explanation )

Agenda 21 confirms the importance of women in sustainable development. Women form over half of the world’s population yet there are very few women in decision-making positions. Women are also most often the members of the community who are directly involved in the land. Many women are farmers and yet often cannot own the land, which they farm because of patriarchal (maledominated) systems of land ownership and access to credit. By giving women more rights and decision-making powers, they will be able to have more say in creating more sustainable lifestyles and improving the quality of life for themselves and their families. In South Africa, women and youth are specifically identified as being significant role-players in sound environmental management. Increased environmental awareness, opportunity and environmental education for youth and women are direct means of improving environmental quality in South Africa, and of ensuring greater action to improve the quality of the existing environment.