'Engendering Eden Volume III: Women, Gender and ICDPs in South and South-East Asia: Lessons Learnt and Experiences Shared.

Abstract

The ‘Engendering’ Eden research programme aimed to fill some of the existing gaps on issues concerned with the relationships between women, gender and ICDPs. It aimed to understand what differences and inequities exist within communities and how these affect participation and the distribution of benefits and costs in relation to conservation and development. Lessons concerning how to address gender issues and women's exclusion have been learnt and recommendations made as to how to incorporate them into future work to achieve more equitable conservation policy and practice.

Differences and inequities exist between men and women in all sections of society and communities in Asia. Culture, ethnicity, caste and religion play a dominant part in cultivating such differences. There are few simple or clear divisions in relation to roles, skills and knowledge. In the majority of cases, inequities result in a bias against women.

This volume: ‘Engendering’ Eden: Volume III. Women, Gender and ICDPs in South and South-East Asia: Lessons Learnt and Experiences Shared, describes in detail the relationships between gender, women and ICDPs. The first section of this review focuses on the gender differences and inequities that exist in local communities in relation to natural resource use. Women in Asia play a central role in natural resource collection. However they are still marginalised from decision-making processes and tend to have a low self-image and confidence. Though some similarities were found between communities, there also exist many differences that are dependent on cultural, social, economic and geographical contexts. In fact some communities are highly equitable. Thus the importance of understanding gender differences within local contexts is emphasised in section two.

Section three focuses on the impacts of conservation and ICDPs on the gender differences and inequities that exist in local communities. Though there are certainly impacts (both beneficial and detrimental) on men and women, because of women’s marginalisation from conservation and development processes and their greater dependence on natural resources for fulfilling daily household needs, the impact on them tends to be more negative. Section four describes the problems that have arisen due to an inadequate accountability and addressing of the more negative impacts and resulting gender inequities.

Sections five and six describe some of the experiences of ICDPs in the region and their variable degrees of focus on gender issues and the inclusion of women. Despite a growing recognition that such issues are important for the success of ICDPs and conservation processes (particularly in forestry), the majority of projects have failed to achieve any ground in thoroughly addressing gender inequities or in promoting a higher degree of women’s inclusion and participation. ICDPs, their process and impacts, are still gender differentiated, with men participating to a greater degree and gaining more direct benefits.

The final two sections focus on lessons learnt from the more development-oriented CBNRM projects found in Asia as well as a selection of ICDPs. Ways to overcome women’s marginalisation from ICDPs and ensure a higher degree of benefits are explored.

Citation

IIED Wildlife and Development SeriesNo. 18, ISBN: 184 3969 4387, 80 pp.

‘Engendering Eden Volume III: Women, Gender and ICDPs in South and South-East Asia: Lessons Learnt and Experiences Shared.

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