My husband is thinking about buying an electric vehicle–not because it’s eco-friendly, but because it can save money and is technologically innovative. I collect banana and vegetable peels to compost in our backyard because I like the idea of keeping food scraps out of the landfill and adding the compost to grow vegetables for our family. We don’t always follow gender stereotypes like these (he will ask for directions, I avoid it like the plague), but when it comes to sustainability we fall on either side of the eco-gender gap.
What is the Eco-Gender Gap?
We all make lifestyle choices, like what car to buy or whether to compost or recycle regularly. The eco-gender gap is the difference between how often women and men make ethical lifestyle choices. According to a survey done by Mintel, 71% of women and 59% of men said they were living more ethically. The gap holds when it comes to recycling with women (77%) more likely than men (67%) to recycle regularly. Men are making environmental choices, but not as often or for the same reasons as women. If saving the planet is a race, women are winning and men don’t seem to be interested in catching up. We can change that by gearing sustainability efforts towards what eco-friendly choices can do for men and giving women the leverage they need to promote them.
We seem to always be highlighting products that are geared towards women. There’s a reason for that.
“This [eco-gender gap] could simply be a reflection of the fact that…many women still tend to take charge of the running of the household, with chores such as cleaning, laundry and even recycling.” —Jack Duckett, Senior Consumer Lifestyles Analyst at Mintel
According to a Gallup poll, women still do most of the laundry. Laundry detergent not only makes up the largest share of the worldwide household cleaning products market, but according to the most recent survey from Blue Yonder, cleaning products are among the top three eco-friendly products for which people will pay more. By breaking some of these stereotypes about who should do what in the household, more men can start to make more sustainable everyday choices.
Everyone can use these sustainably certified laundry products:
Read more about laundry detergents in What’s in Your Laundry Detergent? And Why Did NY Ban Certain Brands?
What Men Don’t Want
Many men don’t want to be seen carrying grocery bags or recycling because it is seen as ,feminine. Men are less likely to adopt sustainable behaviors because they want to maintain a masculine image.
Cleaning isn’t feminine or masculine—it just is. Things need to be kept clean and it should fall on everyone. It is the same for sustainability. With New Jersey’s recent ban on plastic grocery bags everyone has to carry a shopping bag or look silly with their arms full of groceries. Men are carrying reusable grocery bags in New Jersey–and that can help break the green-feminine stereotype.
Reusable shopping bags are for everyone:
What Can Green Do For You?
Sustainability efforts for men need to be geared towards effectiveness and practicality. Men trust science and technology because it has been working well for them for centuries. Instead of focusing on saving the planet, sustainability campaigns can focus on aspects like energy efficiency and economic benefits.
We found this quote from Sheryl Sandburg in the Medium article from Garage which pretty much sums it up:
“I think our pitch to men has to be, don’t do it because it’s the right thing, do it because it is good for you“ — Sheryl Sandberg