Gender and equity

Millions of people worldwide use forests and trees as direct sources of food and income, but its use and the benefits derived, often differ between women and men. Understanding and taking into account gender specific differences in the interaction with forests is not only essential for SFM, it is vital for increasing the contribution of forests to sustainable livelihoods.

Women often bear the primary responsibility for feeding their families, collecting, processing, cooking, rationing and storing food. In many developing countries, women collect and prepare highly nutritious forest foods to complement and add flavour to the staples of family meals. In addition, income generated by women from the harvesting of non-wood forest products (NWFPs) adds to the purchasing power of households and therefore their food security. Men, on the other hand, are more likely than women to be responsible for collecting wild honey, birds’ eggs and insects, for hunting and fishing, and for the commercial exploitation of a forest’s wood resources.

Actions to incorporate gender concerns include: the collection of gender-disaggregated data to monitor gender roles in the sector; the advocacy of governance systems that provide secure forest tenure for women and men; research and knowledge-building to explore and increase the understanding of gender-specific roles, needs and dynamics in the forest sector; the application of gender analyses and gender sensitive participatory approaches in projects and programmes; attention to gender in capacity-building initiatives; gender mainstreaming in policies and laws; the promotion of gender equality in forest enterprises and institutions; and the sensitisation of all stakeholders on gender issues in forestry.

More information: Forestry and gender website

last updated:  Wednesday, November 4, 2015