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Sustainable consumption is the use of resources that minimizes environmental destruction while providing people’s well-being. Women are better compared to men in terms of more sustainable consumption patterns: they produce a smaller carbon footprint. Regardless of economic status, men’s consumer patterns and lifestyles tend to be less sustainable and have a greater pattern of consumption compared to women. Thus, following the carbon footprint of women can have less environmental impact.
There is a direct correlation between gender and consumption in OECD countries. Consumption of women shows that they earn less compared to men and have less purchasing power. Thus, they are prone to purchasing basic needs at a lower price. Women spend on household goods, food, and clothing. Men, on the other hand, have greater purchasing power as they earn and spend more. Men are inclined to buying more expensive goods that include electronics, cars, and houses. It is predicted that women decide around 80% of goods purchased. Men spend 80% of household income.
Although women consumption is mainly concerned with the consumption of women in terms of household goods and services, what is being implied here is family consumption. Women take charge of food preparation, disposal of used items, shopping, purchasing of gifts, and others. Women buy more compared to men on consumer goods that relate to medical care, hygiene, shoes and clothing, books and school stuff. Men spend more dining out compared to women.
Studies show that women are more sustainable consumers. They purchase organic food, they recycle and place a higher value on energy-efficient transport. In Sweden, single mothers dominate in terms of purchasing eco-labeled products. Women also ride in public transports compared to men. Men tend to travel in their own car.
These differences in consumption patterns show the perception of men and women towards society as well as their self-identity. Studies show that young girls have greater levels of environmental concern compared to boys and have a greater sense of responsibility. Other factors influence consumer choices, including the level of income and social biases and conditions. Among these factors, gender is the main one. Women affirm their role as caretakers of their families through their choices in consumption.
What Governments Can Do
Build on consumer preferences of women
Governments can use the preferences of women in patterns of consumption in order to promote sustainability that will be at the advantage of the society and the economy. The well-being of family members is greatly influenced by the decisions of women whenever they purchase food, medicine, clothes, education, household good, and others. The behavior of both men and women should be further understood. Women’s influence on the purchases of men when it comes to family needs requires being studied.
Initiate government programs that target women
Since women are great influencers in family consumption, government programs must be re-calibrated in order to target women consumers. Women are more vocal in terms of supporting government intervention that supports sustainable consumption. Moreover, women also practice the government’s recycling programs, support government grants, and also apply initiatives that conserve energy.
Provide financial assistance to environmental programs
Women tend to purchase sustainable products. However, these should be coupled with a lowering of taxes on these labeled goods. Energy-efficient investments must have corresponding tax incentives in order to support these consumption patterns of women.
Sustainable consumption can be achieved one step at a time if women are empowered. Governments should take the necessary steps in order to promote the female sustainable consumption patterns.