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|Keyword:||Women & Gender equality|
By way of the Women's Community environmental report cards women are being encouraged to review their living environment and exert influence in promoting a sustainable development. Based on the international formula of the Environmental Report Cards, a Dutch questionnaire was developed.
This project makes women more conscious of their role as consumers and citizens. Women's organizations gain experience in formulating women's interests and in getting public support for them. Policy-makers learn to take women's interests into consideration. During the experimental year 1995 twenty local groups in four Dutch provinces are involved, supported by local organizations and the National Steering Group.
The project is intended to stimulate effective involvement among women's organizations in making policies and taking decisions to improve the living environment.
Living environment means the quality of the environment in which you live, work and spend your leisure time. This concept includes aspects such as clean air, water and soil. It concerns the amount of greenery in your local surroundings and the inconvenience caused by excessive industrial noise, stench and like. We also consider socially equitable relationships between men and women and between the North and the South.
In 1991, a worldwide conference was organized by women who were concerned about the environment. This event led the international organization WEDO (Women's Environmental and Development Organization) to initiate a worldwide network of women's groups entrusted with annual reviews of their local environment in the context of sustainable environment. The Dutch steering group for Women's Community Environmental Report Cards is encouraging women to participate in this effort.
To promote this idea. the steering group for Women's Community Environmental Report Cards has drafted a questionnaire to stimulate women's groups and organizations to promote sustainable development locally. This task is ambitious and comprehensive, as women who participate are expected to do more than issue report cards with recommendations. A major goal involves influencing policy making in effort to restructure policies in the interest of sustainable development.
In 1992, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) organized a conference attended by representatives from the governments of 178 countries. As a result of this conference, Agenda 21, an action programme on global sustainable development, was approved. This action programme assigns women an important role in realizing a sustainable society. Such a society is structured in a manner that protects people, the environment and nature and supports the needs of present and future generations.
Municipal councils are indispensable for creating a global sustainable community. The
Agenda 21 action programme emphasizes this need.
How can we influence local government policy ?
Examining the policy-making process of the national government enables us to
distinguish the following phases.
Structure of the questionnaire
The questionnaire helps women review their living environment and exert influence to
promote sustainable development. As usual, this questionnaire consists of many items.
Nevertheless, it is not an ordinary questionnaire. It is special for the following
2. Section F serves a special purpose in the questionnaire. Part F consists of four themes: mobility, living, surrounding environment and consumption. Each theme includes five questions to help women relate their environment to sustainable development. For example, what is the local government doing to reduce car traffic? How does it accommodate the combined burden of family care and work? Is working from home an option? The answers to these questions can help to define the action points
3. Some questions cannot be answered immediately. These questions require investigating and gathering information.
4. Activities to influence policy making are suggested.
The first phase is experimental. This phase will consist of trial circulation of the questionnaire by women's groups and organizations in four Dutch provinces. Depending on the results, the project may be extended throughout the Netherlands.
We expect the participating women's groups to:
The steering group offers, in addition to the material, the following support. During the trial period, women from local and provincial organizations will support participating women's groups. They will provide information about local environmental and emancipation organizations, political parties and lobbies. In addition, members of the project Women's Community Environmental Report Cards will organize several meetings to encourage and stimulate the development of expertise in a specific area.
20 local groups reviewing their living environment
Institute for Public and Politics (IPP)
Dutch Ministry of Environment
Dutch Womens Environmental Group (St. Milieu Kwartet)
Advisors of Environmental Education (SME MilieuAdviseurs )
Institute for Public and Politics (IPP)
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