Future of Feminism: It’s Easy Being Green

Since yesterday’s post highlighted the need for women in the tech sector, it seems apropos to follow up with a further exploration of how women can and should make a difference in business and technology–in our present and for our future. Today, I’m featuring the Women in Green Forum, an annual conference that brings together entrepreneurs, environmental researchers, sustainability developers and other professional women in “green” fields.

Founded in 2010 by Jaime Nack, president of the environmental consulting firm three squares inc., the Women in Green Forum grew out of her all-too-common realization that women were sorely underrepresented at environmental conferences, in leadership positions at green businesses and as heads of eco-minded research projects. Designed to encourage collaboration, networking and innovation, the Forum has already attracted an international audience in its short tenure through in-person attendance and a series of YouTube videos chronicling some of its panels and speakers.

At last year’s Forum, focus groups sponsored by the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) led to the conclusion that “the ‘business of green’ represents an exciting new sector” and, especially due to the innovative and very often collaborative nature of green businesses and do-social-good environmental research, “the sector holds particular promise for women.”

“Not only does the sector offer great promise due to the newness of many of the industries and lack of traditional barriers or old boys networks required for success,” Nack told the Ms. Blog, but “the environmental movement as a whole has been pushed forward by powerful women who decided to speak up, act out or investigate due to their deep belief of protecting the earth or protecting the health of their communities or their families.” Specifically, Nack cites women such as activist Erin Brockovich, writer Rachel Carson (Silent Spring), and current Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa P. Jackson as great agents of change for our (hopefully greener) future.

Of course the Women in Green Forum only represents one of the newer players in an ever-expanding field of environmental organizations that explicitly support women entrepreneurs and gender equity. For example, the Women’s Environment & Development Organization (WEDO) advocates for global human rights at the intersection of gender and the environment; the Women’s Network for a Sustainable Future (WNSF) focuses on promoting businesswomen in sustainable fields; and Ogunte encourages “female social innovators” through networking, workshops and seminars.

Faced with this broadening horizon of environmental innovation and opportunity for women, many aspiring entrepreneurs may find that it is easy being green.

Part Fourteen in a Women’s History Month series celebrating organizations and ideas that represent the future of feminism.

Photo is of EPA administrator Lisa Jackson from Flickr user US Mission Canada under Creative Commons 3.0.


Aviva Dove-Viebahn is an assistant professor of film and media studies at Arizona State University and a contributing editor for Ms.' Scholar Writing Program.