Bridging the Gender Gap in Sustainability Communication

A Women’s Day Perspective

March 2024, by Ettie Etela

As Women’s Day approaches, it’s a poignant reminder of the progress women have made and the challenges that still lie ahead. Despite representing half the global population, women remain underserved in many areas, including sustainability. The past 50 years have seen remarkable strides, yet there is much more to be accomplished. This Women’s Day, we at MM-Eye are committed to understanding and bridging these gaps, particularly in how women engage with environmental sustainability.

Our most recent findings from the Say Do Sustainability Study (SDSS) showed significant differences in the approaches to sustainability of men and women. Men tend to view their contributions with more confidence and believe that their efforts in environmental and social sustainability are above average. On the other hand, women do not share the same level of confidence despite expressing a strong desire to contribute more. This difference in perception and aspiration highlights the nuanced ways in which men and women engage with sustainability.

Thanks to the insights from ThoughtScape™, we have been able to explore the reasons behind the gendered differences in sustainability efforts. Our study shows that women feel a stronger sense of obligation towards sustainability than men. This finding is important for brands that want to connect with women effectively. Standard sustainability messaging is not enough to address the unique perspectives and requirements of women.

We want organisations, brands and businesses to recognise and understand the unique sustainability needs and viewpoints of women. This requires a shift from generic sustainability messaging to more targeted, nuanced communication that resonates with women.

Inclusive and Empowering Communication

The way organisations communicate about sustainability can significantly influence consumer behaviour. These communications need to be inclusive and empowering, particularly for women who are looking to enhance their sustainable actions. Brands should aim to acknowledge the efforts of women, provide practical advice on how they can increase their impact, and celebrate their successes in sustainability.

Developing Women-Centric Initiatives

Beyond communication, there’s a need for concrete, women-centric sustainability initiatives. Brands can develop programs or products that specifically cater to the unique challenges and roles of women in sustainability. This might include initiatives that support women in leading sustainable practices in their communities or products that are designed with women’s specific sustainability needs in mind.

Research and Continuous Learning

Organisations and brands need to stay up-to-date with the evolving trends, needs, and perceptions of sustainability among women through continuous research. Within just two years, we have observed a significant change in how consumers perceive sustainability. The shift from practical to more existential thinking about these issues is an essential factor to consider while messaging.

The SDSS offers valuable insights into women’s attitudes towards their role in sustainability, their aspirations, and the challenges they face. By taking these insights into account, organisations can create strategies that both support and inspire women to become more involved in sustainability efforts.

To learn more about our findings and how we can help your brand or organisation make a meaningful impact, contact MM-Eye today.