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A global analysis of violence against women defenders in environmental conflicts

Article by: Dalena Tran & Ksenija Hanaček

Published on Nature Sustainability on 05 of June 2023:


Women environmental defenders face retaliation for mobilizing against extractive and polluting projects, which perpetrate violence against Indigenous, minority, poor and rural communities. The issue matters because it highlights the gendered nature of extractive violence and the urgent need to address the systemic patterns of violence that affect women defenders, who are often overlooked and underreported. Here we analyse violence against women defenders in environmental conflicts around the world. We use data from the Environmental Justice Atlas and employ log-linear and binomial regressions to find statistically significant patterns in displacement, repression, criminalization, violent targeting and assassinations committed against women defenders in extractive conflicts. Statistical results indicate that violence against women defenders is concentrated among mining, agribusiness and industrial conflicts in the geographical South. Repression, criminalization and violent targeting are closely linked, while displacement and assassination appear as extreme outcomes when conflict violence worsens. Women defenders experience high rates of violence regardless of countries’ governance accountability and gender equality. This work contributes to the broader sustainability agenda by highlighting the need to address the impacts of extractive activities on women.

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