From parity to degrowth: Unpacking narratives of a gender-just transition

Energy Research & Social Science


In the absence of a deliberate focus on gender, efforts towards sustainable transitions run the risk of perpetuating the inequalities present in the fossil fuel-dependent economic system. Demands for a gender-just transition have gained increasing prominence within the political landscape in recent times. However, they are hardly reflected in the scientific debate on a just transition, which is why the paper explores and maps the political narratives around a gender-just transition. A search for grey literature in English on a global level without a country focus results in a collection of 65 political documents. These are analysed using the Narrative Policy Framework. The following six narratives are worked out: (1) representation narrative, (2) policy design narrative, (3) fossil phase- out narrative, (4) opportunity narrative, (5) protection narrative, and (6) transformation narrative. With refer- ence to feminist theories, it is examined which ideas of gender justice underlie the narratives. The narratives represent very different approaches to achieving greater gender equity in the sustainability transition. They range from increasing the proportion of women on the boards of green industries to a fundamental shift away from a growth-based economic system. The paper shows how the narratives could complement each other in a multi-layered vision for a gender-just transition facilitating alliance building.



  • Europa-Universität Flensburg

  • Technische Universität Berlin