"The Village and the World"

Sociologist and Women’s Studies researcher, scholar, ecofeminist, and international activist Maria Mies is one of the world’s original thinkers. In her recent autobiography, now available in English, she presents her life, from her childhood in a small German village, to years on the Indian subcontinent and much more.

Congratulations, Maria!

Ecofeminist, author-activist-teacher and friend, Maria Mies turned 87 in February 2018. We want to honor her by sharing access to her decades of written work, here in English, and in our section in German, her native language.

THEN:  Maria wrote about the landmark ecofeminist conference

Maria Mies on the 1980 Women and Life on Earth conference and ecofeminism
"Ecofeminism, a 'new term for an ancient wisdom' grew out of various social movements - the feminist, peace and ecology movements - in the late 1970s and early 1980s.  More

NOW: Two classic works by Maria Mies have recently been reissued  

Patriarchy and Accumulation on a World Scale:
Women in the International Division of Labour

'It is my thesis that this general production of life, or subsistence production - mainly performed through the non-wage labour of women and other non-wage labourers as slaves, contract workers and peasants in the colonies - constitutes the perennial basis upon which "capitalist productive labour" can be built up and exploited.'

First published in 1986, Maria Mies’s progressive book was hailed as a major paradigm shift for feminist theory, and it remains a major contribution to development theory and practice today.

Tracing the social origins of the sexual division of labour, it offers a history of the related processes of colonization and 'housewifization' and extends this analysis to the contemporary new international division of labour. Mies's theory of capitalist patriarchy has become even more relevant today. more

Ecofeminism: the book she authored with Vandana Shiva defined and explained ecological feminism.

First published in 1993, it was reissued by Zed Press (UK) in 2014, with a new foreward by Ariel Salleh.

'A scholarly but passionate study... Ecofeminism's analysis of global politics, ecology and the status of women has an unmistakable ring of truth.' - Women's Review of Books

This is the basic text for women's study of ecofeminism, by two leading activist-scholars, one from the 'north', German professor emeritus Maria Mies, the other from the 'south', Indian physicist Vandana Shiva. Together they present a fundamental feminist critique of modern industrial development, its effects on women and children, on nature and all aspects of the environment, with many examples from real life around the world." -- Zed Press

'The re-release of Ecofeminism after twenty years is auspicious and long overdue. Converging from widely divergent perspectives, Mies and Shiva achieved a profound conceptual synthesis: the rising of women, everywhere, to protect life from the capitalist patriarchal World System. Overturning all, like good cultivators, they prepare the earth for renewal.'
Joel Kovel, author of 'The Enemy of Nature'

Maria Mies

Professor Maria Mies is an internationally known and appreciated sociologist and teacher, author of several books on women, economic sustainability and the environment as well as articles in numerous journals. After returning from years in India, she headed the Women's Studies Programme at the Institute of Social Sciences in the Hague, and then became Professor of Sociology at the Fachhochschle in Cologne. Retired from teaching in 1993, she continued to be active in a range of women's and environmental movements. One of her on-going projects has been the German publication Infobrief, featuring original essays and translations. 

Books by Maria Mies in English

The Village and the World. Maria Mies' autobiography, published in 2010 by the Australian press Spinifex.

Ecofeminism (Maria Mies and Vandana Shiva)

The Subsistence Perspective: Beyond the Globalised Economy (Maria Mies and Veronika Bennholdt-Thomsen)

Patriarchy and Accumulation on a World Scale: Women in the International Division of Labour. Read on-line or download as pdf: Colonization and Housewifization, Chapter Three of Patriarchy and Capital Accumulation on a World Scale: Women in the International Division of Labour, 1986. [PDF] Available from caring labor: an archive

Articles on our website

Ideological Arsonists, or War starts in our Minds, February 2006. Against "defamation of a people and their culture and religion, a criminal defamation of a people. Defamation that has preceeded every war."

On International Women’s Day: It’s not enough for women to say: “That’s enough!” Statement by WLOE members (including Maria) and friends, Bonn, Germany February 2006, concerning the “Women say NO to War” international petition drive.

On the occasion of President Bush's visit to Germany in February, 2005, Maria Mies, sociologist and activist addressed members of the peace movement. Here, our English translation: Mr. Bush, you are not welcome!

Last updated: 29 August 2017