Population and Environment

, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 88–104 | Cite as

Gender differences in environmental behaviors in China

Original Paper


China represents the third largest economy and the highest level of national carbon dioxide emissions when compared to other nations across the globe. Yet, little social science research has focused on the environmentally oriented behaviors of Chinese nationals, key to understanding levels of environmental impact. This study examines, in China, gender differences in environmentally oriented behaviors, environmental knowledge, and general environmental concern. Making use of path analyses, we identify a pattern of gender differences similar to common findings in the West: women demonstrated greater participation in environmental behaviors inside of the home (e.g., recycling), while outside of the home (e.g., environmental organization donations) no gendered patterns were exhibited. However, Chinese women expressed lower levels of concern than men—a finding opposite of most Western studies. Also distinct from other settings, in China, higher levels of knowledge regarding environmental issues did, indeed, translate into pro-environmental behaviors—thereby not exhibiting the knowledge-behavior gap demonstrated elsewhere.


Gender Environmental behavior Environmental knowledge Environmental concern China Chinese General Social Survey CGSS 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyAmerican UniversityWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of SociologyRenmin University of ChinaBeijingChina

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