Ecofeminism: what is it and what does it have to do with permaculture?

What is ecofeminism and how is related to permaculture?

“Ecofeminism is the idea that the oppression of women and the exploitation of our planet’s natural resources are inextricably linked.” —Aiofe Coyne

What is ecofeminism?

“Wherever women acted against ecological destruction or/and the threat of atomic annihilation, they immediately became aware of the connection between patriarchal violence against women, other people and nature, and that: In defying this patriarchy we are loyal to future generations and to life and this planet itself. We have a deep and particular understanding of this both through our natures and our experience as women”…this quote comes from this article, which gives lots of links and things to think about.

​Ecofeminists posit that the current state of our global environment is a direct result of patriarchal control of resources and industry, for centuries. The way men treat women, in general, is exactly aligned with the way they treat the planet: like a commodity for them to use…and to kill. 

Vandana Shiva is perhaps the most “famous” ecofeminist. In the video below, she discusses her perspectives. Also check out this interview.

Vandana Shiva Interview about Ecofeminism

What does this have to do with permaculture?

It should be obvious by now, but basically: this has EVERYTHING to do with permaculture. How are we supposed to harmonize with nature if we can’t even harmonize with ourselves, across the genders?

Is this the one true path? Of course not! It’s an exploration. Take what you need, contribute what you can.

If it’s a triggering topic for you, you have options! You’re invited to sit with the discomfort, to listen, and to face the challenge to integrate a thorough analysis of the intersection between sex, gender, nature, and power into your whole-system design.

woman farming

A Beginner’s Guide to Ecofeminism

If you’d like to spend some time getting acquainted with the tenets of ecofeminism and connecting to the lexicon and lineage therein, you’re in for a treat! 

Dido Dunlop has been studying, teaching, and writing about ecofeminism for decades, and she created this piece especially for this course. More than just an article–this is basically a free mini-course, with lots to think about and a wide-ranging resource set to explore.

Check it out

Join the conversation

Permaculture Women’s Guild, which as you know is directed by Heather Jo Flores (that’s me!) who also runs this here #freepermaculture course, offers a range of discussion forums. Some are just for women, several are for everyone.

Go here for a full list of the groups we host on Facebook


go here to join the women’s group in our own forum.

We would love to get to know you better, and to discuss all sorts of issues and ideas, from permaculture and ecofeminism to whatever else you might love to share!

gaia goddess in the garden

Ecofeminism and Climate Change

More people are starting to talk about creating a feminist strategy to climate change. This is a connection that might not be obvious at first, but don’t overlook the strength that can be found in a new perspective! In this article, about Indigenous matriarchs standing together in dark times, we see how this type of solidarity inspires communities to face off the most terrifying obstacles.

In the next video, permaculture designer and ecofeminist educator Heidi Hutner discusses “eco-grief” and how it relates to these issues. ​

Eco-Grief and Ecofeminism | Heidi Hutner | TEDxSBU

Want to learn more about this and other topics related to permaculture, sustainability, and whole-systems design? We offer a range of FREE (donations optional) online courses!

Questions to ponder

  • How does your relationship to nature relate to your relationship with women, and with that which is considered “feminine”?
  • Would you consider yourself an ecofeminist? Why or why not? Write about it, think about it, talk with people you respect. 
  • What other questions and ideas come up for you around this topic? It’s juicy, right?? How will you translate this energy to the tangible aspects of your design?
two teenage girls planting vegetables in a community garden

Relevant Links and Resources​

We’ve curated a bunch more resources and hope you will explore them all!

teenage sisters holding hands

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