Gender and sustainability in rural Ireland
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Byrne, Anne, & Shorthall, Sally. (2016). Gender and sustainability in rural Ireland. In Tony Varley, John McDonagh, & Sally Shorthall (Eds.), A Living Countryside? The Politics of Sustainable Development in Rural Ireland: Routledge.
This chapter considers if and how gender is relevant for the sustainability of rural Ireland. When we refer to rural sustainability we mean the continuation of the economic, social, institutional and environmental components of rural life. There are many ways in which we could approach a chapter on gender and rural sustainability. Mobility, education, employment, social class, health care and practically every social structure impacts on gender and the sustainability of rural areas. As these topics are covered in other chapters in this book, we have chosen to focus on gender relations and the sustainability of agriculture and rural development programmes. We review the existing body of research on these topics and consider what they tell us about rural sustainability. The literature review demonstrates how initially research reported gender differences but did not analyse them in any depth. The next phase saw scholars starting to examine the role of women on farms and latterly the role of women in rural development programmes. More recently, scholars have turned their attention to the implications for men of changing gender roles in rural areas. It is clear that any renegotiation of women s roles has implications for men s roles, and vice versa. Much of the research we will review focuses on whether a particular construction of a gender role negatively impacts on another. Our rationale is that a good quality of life for men and women seems central to the sustainability of rural living. We conclude by identifying contemporary considerations regarding gender and rural sustainability.
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