In Memoriam Irene Dankelman

It is with great sadness that we say farewell to Irene Dankelman, a driving force behind the ecofeminist movement and long time board member of WECF.   

Irene was a passionate ecologist specialized in the field of gender and the environment. She inspired generations of women environmental activists as a professor and mentor and her academic publications reached people all over the world. The ecofeminist cause was near and dear to her heart, and she worked tirelessly towards ensuring gender equality in environmental decision-making and enabled several women environmental civil society organizations to positively influence policymaking in many countries, directly impacting women in local communities. Recently, Irene was honored with a Dutch Royal Decoration, a more than deserved recognition of her life’s work.  

We are grateful that Irene was able to receive a book we compiled with well-wishes and memories from colleagues and partners. The sheer amount of people that contributed to the honorary book is a testament to how Irene touched, guided and emboldened all whom she met. 

Marie Kranendonk, founder of WECF, reflects on all her years working with Irene and the important role that Irene had in shaping WECF: 

“I think about how you spoke with your powerful personality with glowing conviction, and that you dared to express your vision in this way to large halls of listeners from politics, nature organizations and students who needed convincing.”   

Marie reflects on how they both started “as women who had to work as loners among all those male colleagues and bosses”, and that nowadays “you see that women are indeed taking their place much more strongly, in working in and thinking about sustainable development everywhere in the world.” This progress would not have possible without the great work of women like Irene.  

Irene’s tremendous knowledge, dedication, passion and compassion continues to guide and inspire us in building the ecofeminist movement.  

Irene passed away on the 28th of December 2022. She was laid to rest “among the trees, heather, sand lizards, birds and deer” surrounded by family, friends and colleagues.