Vulnerability in the making? How intersectionality and masculinity theory can bring light to climate injustice in urban climate policy


  • Angelica Wågström Lund University


This paper focuses on urban climate policy, drawing on poststructural feminist theories, examining whether an awareness of intersectionality and norms of masculinity can improve urban climate policy in terms of climate justice. Research on intersectionality and masculinity in relation to climate change as well as climate policy is reviewed, followed by an analysis of climate change related policies in Helsinki in Finland and Johannesburg in South Africa. The focus of the analysis is on gender, but other social lenses are also identified. While neither of the cities’ climate policies explicitly includes gender, Johannesburg has a (very low) acknowledgement of intersecting social issues in which the factors ethnicity, poverty and age are most present. Strategies mentioned both within reviewed research as well as the policies of analysis can be explained by the so called ecomodern masculinity that is dominating in climate policy-making today. All in all, the paper aligns with literature arguing that there is a lack of gender-awareness in urban climate policy, risking to accelerate climate injustice. The paper concludes that an awareness of norms of masculinity as well as intersecting social structures of domination is a first step to designing urban climate policies that contribute to climate justice.


Alber, Gotelind, Friedrike Habermann and Conny van Heemstra, eds. 2014. Gender and Climate Change: working towards gender-sensitive national climate policy. Berlin: GenderCC. Accessed March 17, 2016.

Anguelovski, Isabelle and Carmin, JoAnn. 2011. “Something borrowed, everything new: innovation and institutionalization in urban climate governance.” Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 3, no. 3: 169-175. Accessed October 12, 2016. ScienceDirect.

Anshelm, Jonas and Martin Hultman. 2015. “Masculinities of Global Climate Change: Exploring examples of Ecomodern-, Industrial- and Ecological Masculinity.” Working paper presented at the Work in a Warming World (W3)/ Simon Fraser University Researchers’ Workshop:

“Climate Change, Gender and Work in Rich Countries”, Vancouver, Canada, June.

Barager, Jennifer. 2009. “From the periphery toward the center 1: Locating an alternative genealogy for disability studies in Audre Lorde’s The Cancer Journals.” Thinking Gender Papers. UCLA Center for the Study of Women. Accessed December 6, 2016.

Bradley, Karin. 2009. “Planning for eco-friendly living in diverse societies.” Local Environment 14, no. 4: 347-363. Accessed October 23, 2015.

Carmin, JoAnn, Isabelle Anguelovski, and Debra Roberts. 2012. "Urban Climate Adaptation in the Global South: Planning in an Emerging Policy Domain." Journal of Planning Education & Research 32, no. 1: 18-32. Accessed November 29, 2016. EBSCOhost.

Christensen, Ann-Dorte and Sune Qvotrup Jensen. 2014. “Combining hegemonic masculinity and intersectionality.” NORMA 9, no. 1: 60-75. Accessed September 16, 2016.

Cingano, Federico. 2014. “Trends in Income Inequality and its Impact on Economic Growth.” OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers, no. 163. Accessed December 2, 2016. Paris: OECD Publishing.

City of Burlington. 2016. “What is a climate action plan?” Website of City of Berlington, Vermont. Accessed October 31, 2016.

City of Helsinki. 2016. “Helsinki’s Climate Roadmap. Towards a carbon neutral and climate resilient city.” Accessed October 31, 2016. ISBN (PDF) 978-952-272-913-2.

City of Johannesburg. 2009. “Climate Change Adaptation Plan.” Accessed October 26, 2016.

Esmalian, Shora. 2015. “Out of the frying pan: People on the move in a warmer world and how to receive them.” In The Politics of Ecosocialism, edited by Kajsa Borgnäs, Teppo Eskelinen, Johanna Perkiö and Rikard Warlenius, 148-162. Abingdon: Routledge.

Fothergill Alice, Enrique G.M. Maestas and JoAnne DeRouen Darlington. 1999. “Race, Ethnicity and Disasters in the United States: A Review of the Literature.” Disasters 23, no. 2: 156-173. Accessed December 2, 2016. MEDLINE.

Gottzén, Lucas. 2013. Hjältar och monster - Samhällsvetenskapliga perspektiv på män och våld. Stockholm: Ungdomsstyrelsen. Accessed October 26, 2015.

Hultman, Martin. 2013. “The Making of an Environmental Hero: A History of Ecomodern Masculinity, Fuel Cells and Arnold Schwarzenegger.” Environmental Humanities 2: 79-99. Accessed October 16, 2015. Directory of Open Access Journals.

Kaijser, Anna and Annica Kronsell. 2014. ”Climate change through the lens of intersectionality.” Environmental Politics 23, no. 3 (May): 417-433. Accessed February 19, 2016.

MacGregor, Sherilyn. 2009. “A stranger silence still: the need for feminist social research on climate change.” Sociological Review Monograph 57, no. 2 (Oct): 124-140. Accessed October 23, 2015.

MacGregor, Sherilyn. 2010. ”‘Gender and climate change’: from impacts to discourses.” Journal of the Indian Ocean Region 6, no. 2: 223-238. Accessed October 5, 2016. /10.1080/19480881.2010.536669

Magnusdottir, Gunnhildur Lily and Annica Kronsell. 2015. “The (in)visibility of gender in Scandinavian climate policy-making.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 17, No. 2: 308-326. Accessed 2016-10-17.

Marx, Karl. 1887. Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. Volume 1. Edited with a Preface by Frederick [sic] Engels. Translated from the third German edition by Samuel Moore and Edward Bibbins Aveling. London.

Morioka, Rika. 2016. “Japanese Families Decoupling Following the Fukushima Nuclear Plant Disaster: Men’s Choice between Economic Stability and Radiation Exposure.” In Men, Masculinities and Disaster, edited by Elaine Enarson and Bob Pease, 103-114. Abingdon: Routledge.

Nelson, Valerie, Kate Meadows, Terry Cannon, John Morton and Adrienne Martin. 2002. “Uncertain Predictions, Invisible Impacts, and the Need to Mainstream Gender in Climate Change Adaptation.” Gender and Development 10, no. 2 (July): 51-59. Accessed February 22, 2016. JSTOR Journals.

OECD 2016. “Time use across the world.” Gender Data Portal. Accessed December 2, 2016.

Parkinson, Debra and Claire Zara. 2016. “Emotional and personal costs for men of the Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria, Australia.” In Men, Masculinities and Disaster, edited by Elaine Enarson and Bob Pease, 81-91. Abingdon: Routledge.

Pease, Bob. 2016. “Masculinism, climate change and “man-made” disasters: toward an environmental profeminist response.” In Men, Masculinities and Disaster, edited by Elaine Enarson and Bob Pease, 21-33. Abingdon: Routledge.

Plumwood, Val. 2002. Environmental Culture: The ecological crisis of reason. London: Routledge.

Russo, Chandra and Andrew Pattison. 2016. “Climate Action Planning (CAP) - An intersectional approach to the urban equity dilemma.” In Systemic Crisis of Global Climate Change - Intersections of race, class and gender, edited by Phoebe Godfrey and Denise Torres, 250-262. Abington: Routledge.

Terry, Geraldine. 2009. “No climate justice without gender justice: an overview of the issues.” Gender and Development 17, no. 1 (March): 5-18. Accessed February 22, 2016.

Titheridge H., N. Christie, R. Mackett, D. O. Hernández and R. Ye. 2014. Transport and Poverty - A review of the evidence. London: CL Transport Institute, University College London. Accessed December 2, 2016.

UNFCCC 2016. “Gender and Climate Change.” Accessed March 24, 2016.

Whitehead, Stephen M. 2002. Men and Masculinities. Cambridge: Polity Press.

World Economic Forum. 2016. The Global Gender Gap Report. Geneva: World Economic Forum. Accessed November 11, 2016.