Worldwide, one in three women is victim of gender-based violence. Every woman experiences gender-based violence and discrimination at least once in her life. It does not matter her job or who she is, whether they molest her while she waiters or they fill her body with bullets in the streets of Rio de Janeiro, whether a man rubs himself against her on a bus or she is repeatedly raped in a lager in Libya or in a resort in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has recently issued the report “Gender-based violence and environment linkages – The violence of inequality” to highlight the connections between practises of female subjugation and the exploitation of natural resources, both fruit of a capitalistic and patriarchal system which uses them to perpetuate itself. It creates a vicious circle which turns violence into a powerful weapon to enlarge inequalities and silence protests. Practises like sexual exploitation in exchange for staple goods in Africa or raping as a method to disaggregate resisting communities in Latin America are based on the conception of the woman as an object on which the man has historically exercised his right to property and continues to do so.
The effects are numerous. Violence is used to prevent women from accessing and controlling natural resources, means of production, movable and immovable properties and thus from gaining a higher degree of emancipation: education is too costly when one does not even possess the means to survive. In this way, the female subalternity takes roots in the society and becomes more and more difficult to dismantle, protected as it is by the repression against anyone (and especially women) who tries to react to defend basic rights as the ones to live in a healthy environment and to stay on your own land.
In this dramatic scenario, there are reasons to hope.
The increasing exploitation of non-renewable resources, pollution and global warming, environmental disasters and extreme natural phenomena have forced people to open their eyes. They are coming to the realisation that saving the Earth is saving humanity and an opportunity to revolutionise the system we have so far adopted to organise our society. The last chapter of the above-mentioned IUCN report is dedicated to the “Recommendations for taking actions”. They suggest that to face the environmental crisis while pursuing the goal of eliminating discriminations and creating or reinforcing paths of self-determination, independence and shared leadership equals to readdress funds and researches in the direction of more interconnected solutions. In this way, the exploitation of people and resources will come to a definite end.