Gender and Forestry
Forests have a significant role in reducing the vulnerability of rural poor people who depend on forests for their livelihoods (food, fuelwood, medicines, fibre, income, etc.). Access to and control over forest resources are fundamental for the sustainable livelihoods of rural poor people. However, in many cultures, access is determined by gender-based differences in knowledge about natural resources and ways of using them. These vary from country to country and from village to village, depending on traditions and other environmental, social and economic circumstances.
The following key issues regarding forestry and the livelihoods of rural women and men need to be considered:
Many of FAO’s forestry programmes promote gender balance or have a “gender mainstreaming” component. The programme on Community-Based Enterprise Development (CBED) has a particularly strong gender focus, as many of the small entrepreneurs it works with are women who extract and process non-wood forest products. The CBED programme has developed specific training activities for women and provides market information in contexts that are most appropriate for them. Please see www.fao.org/forestry/enterprises/en/.