Fertile Ground: Women Organizing at the Intersection of Environmental Justice and Reproductive Justice


This report highlights the powerful contributions Environmental Justice and Reproductive Justice groups are making to secure safer, healthier environments for all women, children, and communities. The work of these groups demonstrate how an intersectional approach to organizing and movement building can lead to more powerful outcomes at all levels. To showcase these lessons, the report is organized around arenas where EJ/RJ work is having innovative impacts on outcomes and processes. We also offer our own conclusions about EJ/RJ’s contribution to movement building and its origins.

Another important finding that emerged from this work involves critical lessons that United States social justice movements can learn from indigenous movements. While all of the organizations in this report are committed to holistic and integrated approaches to social change, we find that the indigenous organizations interviewed most embody and articulate the intersectional framework at a deep level.

EJ/RJ supports the rights of women and families to live, work, play, learn, and pray in an environment that supports their health and ability to reproduce (as families and communities) if and how they choose. Movement Strategy Center  inspire increased collaboration between EJ/RJ groups and to leverage support for the powerful work that emerges from this intersection.

This report explores the ideas and work of 24 organizations that embrace both reproductive justice and environmental justice. These 24 organizations were selected in consultation with the Women’s Foundation of California and Vanessa Daniel of the Tides Foundation and the Catalyst Fund. The groups were selected for their focus on the impact of environmental conditions on the health and well-being of women and children, as well as the reproduction of families, communities, and culture. Collectively, they represent a wide range of participants, organizational structures, and social change strategies. While some self-identified as working at the intersection of EJ/RJ, the majority did not. Our team interviewed 24 groups over six months. More than half of the groups were located in California – both in the State’s urban hubs as well as farm worker communities of the Central Valley. The rest of the groups were located around the country; the majority were indigenous organizing groups, located in “Indian country” throughout the continental United States and Alaska. These interviews were supplemented by observations and analysis of two, two-day convening of the California groups by the Women’s Foundation of California and by observations made through MSC’s capacity building work with environmental justice and reproductive justice organizations over the years.