Women’s imagination of future, less polluted, urban environments
(Manchester Metropolitan University)
Paul O'Hare (Manchester Metropolitan University)
Simon Cook (University of Dundee )
Sam Illingworth (Manchester Metropolitan University)
Paper short abstract:
Contemporary environmental challenges prompt exploration of local knowledge and of different societal groups. Here we present findings from interviews with women, who are key actors in the two main contributors to air pollution: transport and households. We discuss their views and imaginings of air pollution and clean urban environments.
Paper long abstract:
In recent years there have been calls to explore local perspectives of global environmental challenges, and provide a more detailed study of people holding different socio-political positions in society. In response to the major air pollution crisis that we are facing globally – where 92% of the world’s population live in places that exceed the recommended annual mean concentrations of PM2.5 – we explore women’s imagination of future, less polluted, urban environments. Women are key actors in the two main contributors to air pollution: transport and households. In the UK today, women have different travel patterns to men. Studies show they sometimes value safety over travel duration, and today still assume to a greater extent of the responsibility for escorting children to school. Additionally, women still carry out most of the domestic work, such as cooking and laundering – according to the Office for National Statistics (2015), 60% of unpaid work in the UK is performed by women. Exploring women’s visions is necessary for two reasons. First, so that they are recognised in policy development and awareness raising efforts. And second, because they might be able to lead moves towards cleaner air as they already lead more sustainable lifestyles: they drive and own less cars than men, they also travel less miles per year, and make greater use of public transport. Here we present findings from a series of interviews with women, where we discuss their experiences of air pollution, and their imaginings of a cleaner urban environment.
The public imagination of the future