Climate change is caused by the patriarchy. That’s the view of feminist author and activist, Gloria Steinem.
Asked about the danger of broadening feminism to include issues like climate change, Steinem responded by claiming the patriarchy is “the fundamental cause of climate change.”
“Listen, what causes climate deprivation is population. If we had not been systematically forcing women to have children they don’t want or can’t care for over the 500 years of patriarchy, we wouldn’t have the climate problems that we have.”
She continued: “because women are the major agricultural workers in the world, and also the carriers of water and the feeders of families and so on, it’s a disproportionate burden.”
The view that the human population is a threat to humanity is hardly original. It has formed the basis for every Malthusian prediction since An Essay on the Principle of Population was released in 1798. These predictions of catastrophe have continually been proven wrong, usually because they ignore humanities capacity for ingenuity and innovation.
But Steinem’s argument goes one step further by implying that the growth in population – indeed, humanity’s very survival as a species – is due to hundreds of years of women being forced to have children. Never mind any biological desire to procreate, let alone the idea that women might consciously want to have children. The traditional role of motherhood is apparently a creation of that ever-present source of oppression, humanities original sin: patriarchy.
If anyone needed a reason to believe the modern feminist movement has lost touch with reality, this is surely it. Once a movement that fought for equal rights of women – a noble cause that has been stunningly successful – feminism has now seemingly degenerated into an ideological dogma that blames all problems on a single source of evil, nuance be damned.
Patrick Hannaford is an Australian writer. You can follow him on Twitter at @PatHannaford
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