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October 12, 2023

In Charts: Mapping concerns over climate based on gender

Woman holding soil and new plant
More women across Europe think it is important to care for the environment than men (Photo: FoToArtist_1/Envato).jpg

As green policy is increasingly scrutinised and with elections taking place in the EU and a number of countries next year, policymakers may want to pay attention to the different levels of engagement with climate crisis between women and men

Across continental Europe and the UK, women believe that it is more important to care for the environment than men, according to findings by Bocconi University.

With the exception of the UK, women in a selection of major European economies are also more inclined to believe that economic growth is always harmful to the environment.

Bocconi University zoomed in on Italy, where it is based, and found that a slightly greater proportion of women than men feel personal responsibility to reduce climate change and a distinct majority acknowledge that limiting their energy consumption is beneficial to the climate.

This disparity between women and men is reflected among candidates for national parliamentary elections across Europe. Female politicians show a greater tendency to back stronger measures for the environment than male politicians.

“This gender difference aligns with women’s generally higher social orientation and altruism, their tendency to prioritise long-term perspectives in their decision-making, and their increased concern for safety and health issues,” Paola Profeta, dean for diversity, inclusion and sustainability at Bocconi University, tells Sustainable Views.

“These differences may be rooted in the distinct societal roles traditionally assigned to men and women.”

Bocconi’s findings were corroborated by research of the Italian population, conducted by research company Hokuto, in partnership with think-tank Vision. This study, which involved interviews with 1,000 Italians aged at least 18, revealed greater concerns about the environment among women than men. Meanwhile, Hokuto found that young people are more worried about climate change than their older peers.

A service from the Financial Times