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EXECUTIVE SUMMARYIt has long been recognized that women are the primary users and potentialstewards of many natural resources that provide the means for basic survival(Rio Declaration, 1992; UNCED, 1992; CBD, 1993; Declaration on World FoodSecurity, 1996). In Africa, for example, women are charged with 80% of thefood security (Madonsela, 2002) and 90% of the water security in rural communities (GWA, 2006). Women collect fuelwood for energy, plants and herbsfor medicine, and utilize natural resources to support the economic stability offamilies and communities. Because the majority of the rural poor are womenPhoto: Annie Griffiths, Ripple Effect Imagesand because their social roles and responsibilities require them to rely heavilyon the goods and services that are provided by the natural world, women aredisproportionately impacted by the loss of natural resources.While researchers disagree on how to calculate poverty, there is consensus onthree critical points: 1.The majority of the world’s poor are women; 2. Over halfof the world’s poor live in rural areas and depend heavily on natural resourcesfor survival; 3. Resource degradation is an acute problem in rural areas, withsome 60% of the world’s poorest people living in ecologically vulnerable areas(Angelsen, 1997). The loss of natural resources not only undermines food,health, energy and water security (FAO, 2001; UNDP, 2006) it also increases thevulnerability and decreases the resiliency of rural women and their families toexternal forces such as rapid demographic shifts, rapid economic growth, andwar and conflict (Lambrou, 2000; UNDPA).Despite their reliance on natural resources for survival and livelihoods, theunique information that women have regarding resource use and management,and the potential stewardship role that they can play, women are not systematically engaged in the planning and implementation of natural resource management activities. To ensure the sustainability of poverty alleviation and naturalresource management efforts in vulnerable rural ecosystems, women must beengaged in planning and implementation and they must share the benefitsof management outcomes. Further, initiatives must take into account and address the obstacles and constraints that inhibit women from managing their“Over half of the world’spoor live in rural areasand depend heavily onnatural resources forsurvival.”resources sustainably. These issues include insecure land and resource tenure;time poverty; educational/training opportunities; access to financing; increasedexposure to health risks; and social, cultural, political, and economic barriers.Research shows that when women are included, natural resource managementoutcomes are improved, for example:3

In Nepal and Gujarat, forest cover is increased by 75% when women areincluded in the process of protecting forests (Agarwal 2003). Research covering 61 nations over a 15 year time period found that the“Approximately 70%of the world’s poorpresence of women’s NGO’s in addition to environmental NGO’s is significantlycorrelated with decreased deforestation (Shandra 2008).and over 65% of the In Sudan, among the most important factor to getting key natural resourceworld’s illiterate areproved messaging to women (Muneer, 2002).women.”In order to improve natural resource management and decrease rural poverty,management technologies adopted is the education level of women and im-women must be systematically engaged in the planning, implementation andPhoto: Ami Vitale, Ripple Effect Imagesmonitoring of conservation efforts; and they must benefit from the results.4

WOMEN, POVERTY AND NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENTThe degradation of natural resources impacts everyone regardless of gender,race, age and level of income. However, the extent to which natural resourcesdegradation affects individuals varies depending upon several key factors, mostsignificantly: economic status and gender. Because the majority of the world’spoor are women, the links between economic status and gender areinextricable.POVERTYApproximately 70% of the world’s poor and over 65% of the world’s illiterateare women (ILO, 1996; IFAD, 2001). The vast majority of these individuals live inrural areas (OECD, 2001; UNDP, 2006). In fact, rural poverty accounts for nearly63% of poverty worldwide, reaching 90% in some countries like Bangladesh andbetween 65% and 95% in sub-Saharan Africa (Kahn, 2001; Byers, 2001).Despite recent increases in migration toward urban centers, the correlation between poverty and remoteness remains strong and is predicted to be significantin most countries over the long term (Angelsen, 1997). Further, the total numPhoto: Dietmar Tempsber of poor rural women is expected to increase because of general populationtrends, an increase in female-headed households, (Drimie, 2002) and barriers tourban migration for women including lack of money, social roles and responsibilities, and lack of alternative livelihoods (Tacoli, 2009).Rural people, especially rural women, are often isolated from economic opportunities, have less access to basic social services, and therefore rely heavilyon goods and services derived from natural resources (OECD, 2001). Aroundthe world, natural resources provide an array of goods and services for basicsurvival. Forests enable women to gather firewood, fish, collect materials formaking handicrafts and allow access to non-timber forest products such as medicinal plants and fruits. Near shore and coastal systems enable activities suchas the gathering firewood (mangroves), fishing, accessing building materials,and utilizing fresh water resources. In South Africa, more than 60% of womenrely directly on natural resources for their survival needs for themselves andtheir families; in Mozambique, this number climbs to 70% (Mutangadura, 2004).In addition to basic sustenance, the use of natural resources is often a large proportion of the livelihood needs for women in rural communities. For example,in Sub-Saharan Africa women derive 30-50% of non-farm income sources fromnatural resources; in Southern Africa, the reliance on natural resources for in-5

come increases to 80-90%. In South Asia, approximately 60% of rural householdincome comes from non-farm sources (Ellis, 1999). As natural resources are degraded, women’s already very limited economic opportunities are jeopardized“As natural resourcesdecline, women mustand poverty rates climb.In addition to direct economic losses, women’s economic status is also indirectlyaffected by degraded natural resources. As natural resources decline, womendedicate increasingmust dedicate increasing amounts of time to obtaining resources for both sus-amounts of time toand prohibits women and girls from pursuing other activities including incomeobtaining resourcesrevenue further contributes to greater resource loss and increased inequalitytenance and livelihood needs. This increase in time contributes to ‘time poverty’generating activities. Trapped in a vicious cycle, the inability to generatefor both sustenance(Blackden, 2006). For example, in Uganda wood is necessary as a fuel source forand livelihooddecreases due to unsustainable deforestation activities, income generatingneeds.”2008). Without the added income from food and alcohol sales, women mustthe preparation of food and alcohol for sale by women. As resource availabilityactivities become less viable and may be abandoned altogether (Shandra,increasingly rely on natural resources for sustenance as they no longer have theavailable funds to purchase sustainable alternatives to meet their needs.Another example includes women producing charcoal in Ghana. Their incomesdeclined as forests were cleared to expand agriculture for exporting. Becauseof unsustainable deforestation, women are no longer able to access materialsfor charcoal. In Vietnam, as resources disappear and distances between forestsand markets increase, women are increasingly unable to sell non-timber forestproducts in the markets and must rely increasingly on natural resources to meettheir needs (Quang, 2006).In summary, because the majority of the rural poor are women andbecause their social roles and responsibilities require them to rely heavilyon the goods and services that are provided by the natural world, womenare disproportionately impacted both directly and indirectly by the lossof natural resources (Aguilar, 2006; Adger et al., 2003; ADB et al., 2003,Lambrou, 2004). It is currently estimated that over 60% of the world’sPhoto: Lynn Johnson, Ripple Effect Imagespoorest people live in ecologically vulnerable areas (Angelsen, 1997). Thisdegradation threatens not only the natural resources within a region butcontributes to furthering the poverty and disempowerment of women.6

LAND TENUREareas where future access is uncerstances, men dissuade women fromnatural resources for survival andmaking long-term improvementslivelihood, women own less than 2%expressly to prevent them fromof the world’s titled land (FAO, 2003;acquiring land tenure. For example,Coleman, 2008; see also UNIFEM,tree planting by secondary rights us-Women Watch, 2010). While womeners such as women is not encouragedoften have legal rights to own landin the Congo as it is a widely recog-and resources such as in the case ofnized as a way in which a land userZimbabwe, Cameroon and Ethiopiamay make a long-term claim to land(PRB, 2002; Sass, 2002) in reality(Flintan, 2003). In Cameroon, somecustoms often prevent women frommen will only allow women to planttaking de facto control of land andshort-lived trees, such as papaya, tonatural resources. (UN DESA, 2006;prevent women from gaining landColeman, 2008). This lack of landtenure (Flintan, 2003). In Kenya, menownership or tenure negativelyreserve the right to make final deci-impacts women’s economic statussions about how the land is used. Abecause landowners receive thewoman must therefore secure thegreatest benefit from increasedapproval of her husband before sheproductivity and farming yields andcan build a terrace to conserve thethis increased productivity enablessoil. Situations frequently arise wherelandowners to rely less on naturalmen do not grant approval andresources for survival (OECD, 2001;women remain powerless to improveQuang, 2005).land use (Mwanduka and Thampy,Photo: Dietmar Tempstain (Fortmann, 1997). In other inDespite a strong reliance on land and1995).In addition to their inability to realizeimproved productivity from securedIn addition to being unable or unwill-land rights, women are often unableing to invest in sustainable prac-or unwilling to adapt their agriculturetices in the absence of land tenure,and foraging activities to changingwomen cannot use land as collat-ecological conditions or to improveeral for accessing credit. Womensustainability. Women who do nothave access to less than 10% of thehave land tenure are not incentivizedworld’s credit (FAO, 2002). The lackto practice sustainable agricultureof access to credit means they oftenor development methods or makecannot improve farming practicesinvestments in long-term infrastruc-by adopting new technologies orture. For example, in Zimbabwe,hiring labor when needed (PRB, 2002;researchers found that women areFAO, 2006). The inability to improvesignificantly less likely to plant treesfarming practices leads to increasedfor food, medicine, and fuelwood indeforestation because as farmlands7

collapse due to unsustainable farming practices, more land is needed on whichto grow food (see for example Lao PDR, 2008). Conversely, when women haveaccess to credit, information and improved farming techniques, land productivity increases. In fact, recent studies suggest that with equal access to credit,women could increase their access to productive resources such as land, seedand fertilizer thereby increasing productivity of land by up to 20% (AFP, 2007).“As a result ofIn Burkina Faso, the allocation of smaller plots to men and women separately in-women’s inability toand social benefits. Women were equally good or even better irrigation farmersstead of allocating larger plots to household heads produced both higher yieldsacquire land tenurethan men and were able to increase their economic contribution to their house-and credit for improvedhelp support their relatives and increase their own opportunities for individualpractices, women areplots added incentives for women to invest more capital and labor in their landexcluded from takingholds. As they became more economically independent, they were also able toaccumulation of wealth in the form of livestock. The effects of having individualthereby significantly improving productivity (OECD, 1998).advantage of currentAs a result of women’s inability to acquire land tenure and credit for improvedand emergingeconomic opportunities. For example, women are often excluded from emerg-economicing organizations will not recognize offset efforts (Henneke per. Com., 2010;opportunities.”practices, women are excluded from taking advantage of current and emerginging carbon markets because without secure land tenure, international accreditCCBA, 2008; Martin, 2008).In summary, the incentives for women to implement conservation and sustainablemanagement to improve productivity of farmland and the ability to take advantage of current and emerging economic opportunities are mediated by lack ofPhoto: Annie Griffiths, Ripple Effect Imagesaccess to land tenure and credit thereby leading to continued poverty. As poverty8

remains stagnant or increases andand Pritchett, 1997). In Sudan, theproductivity of land decreases, defores-time taken by women to collect fuel-tation rates go up as women are forcedwood in some areas has increasedRural women are less likely to haveto find new land on which to grow foodfourfold during a 10-year periodaccess to useful non-formal educa-and access resources for survival.(PRB, 2000). It is not unusual fortion or training opportunities, withwomen in India to spend five hoursthe exception of literacy coursesdaily collecting firewood when tra-and courses in handicrafts (IFAD,EDUCATIONTECHNICAL TRAININGditionally this chore had been done2001). Because technical outreachLack of education and access toweekly (Buckingham-Hatfield, 2000).and agriculture extension servicesinformation generally, and specifi-As time burdens increase for women,frequently target cash crop produc-cally with regard to natural resourcegirls are forced to leave school anders, men receive the bulk of trainingmanagement, is another barrier thatassist with daily household choresand funding. Further, agriculturalimpacts women more than men.(UN, 2008). A study in Mozambique’soutreach and training experts tend toWomen in rural areas have lowerprimary schools found that thebe men, and male outreach expertslevels of education than rural mensingle most important factor in pooroften overlook the role of women in(Lambrou, 2006).performance was the time and strainproviding food. For example:imposed by the child’s workloadPRIMARY EDUCATION(UNICEF, 2010). In Thailand, the scarcity of femalegovernment officials, extensionRural women are less likely to achieveOther factors that account for girls’agents and trainers hampers wom-the same level of basic education asunequal access to education in ruralen’s access to information, resourcesmen for several reasons. Relianceareas include a lack of a safe meansand technology provided by externalon natural resources means poorof transportation, poor security ininstitutions. “Research has found thatwomen must spend many hours aschools, and the lack of separate sani-formal communications from govern-day obtaining natural resources totation facilities (UN, 2006). Further,ment officials in Thailand are uncon-meet their familys’ daily needs. Asif one of the children in a householdsciously gender-biased. For instance,the health and availability of naturalhas to drop out of school becauseletters and invitations to meetingsresources declines, women’s work-of the cost of schooling or for otherare always addressed to the head ofloads increase. Women must travelreasons, the dropout is usually thethe household who is usually male.further and increase personal risk ingirl. For example, in Malawi, afterFurther, male officials themselvesorder to secure resources from newlong periods of drought more girlsprefer to contact male villagers. Inlocations (Koda, 2004). For example,dropped out of school to save moneyaddition, while training courses canas forests are cleared, women muston school fees and to assist withhelp to advance the skills of somewalk further to collect necessaryhousehold tasks (Valentini, 2005).villagers, there is no formal obliga-resources such as fuelwood (Agarwal,The lack of education in youngertion on the part of those trained to1992). During the 1970’s, women ingenerations has implications forcommunicate their new knowledgeNepal were able to collect fuelwoodsustained gender inequality and con-with other villagers. As a result, newin 2 hours; however, just ten yearstinued cycles of chronic poverty andskills are not systematically shared,later, fuelwood collection took annatural resource degradation.and opportunities to multiply andentire day and involved walkingscale up technology transfer are lost”through difficult terrain (Loughran(FAO, 2003a).9

Photo: Dietmar Temps In El Salvador, a project area hadlack of education results in a decrease21% female-headed households andof farmland productivity and leads towomen farmers were particularlyunsustainable natural resource man-active in vegetable, soybean and fruitagement practices including deforesta-tree production. However, only 4%tion and the expansion of farming ontoof the participants for crop-produc-marginalized lands (OECD, 2002). Ittion training were women. Therealso precludes women from engagingwere a number of reasons for thisin key economic opportunities. Further,including the absence of land rightsas the availability of natural resourcesfor women, women’s workload, anddeclines, girls are withdrawn fromcultural norms. Further, gender bi-school to help meet the needs of fami-ases were found among project staff.lies with implications for future naturalAfter gender training was introducedresource management strategies.to the project, education ratios werereversed and the number of womenHEALTHin training rose to 70%. Gradually,gender ratios stabilized closer to aLoss of access to healthy naturalbalanced program (IFAD, 2001).resources affects women’s well-beingdisproportionately to that of men A recent study in Africa notes that(Huyun, 2005). The health impactswomen very rarely participate inborne by women are often relatedcourses on animal traction. Train-to such things as deforestation, theing on animal health often excludescollapse of fisheries, and desertifica-women even when they are the onestion. Women are disproportionatelydoing the livestock-raising (IFAD,impacted for several reasons includ-2001). Such gender bias may haveing: increased exposure due to socialbeen justified at one point in time,roles and responsibilities such as inbut now, with large-scale male out-the case of water borne diseases andmigration, women are performingindoor air pollution, increased vulner-most farming tasks and thereforeability because of lower health statusneed equal access to knowledge.and the special risks faced duringpregnancy, and because of societalIn summary, women as farmers arenorms and behaviors such as the useoften overlooked despite their role inof rape during conflict and the sexualproviding most of the food consumedpromiscuity of male partners.locally. This oversight means thateducation is biased toward male community members. Therefore, womendo not have access to informationto improve agricultural and naturalresource management practices. This10

INDOOR AIR POLLUTIONApproximately 3 billion people worldwide cannot afford fossil fuels to meetbasic energy demands such as cooking, cleaning, lighting and heating. An estimated 2.4 billion of these people rely on traditional biomass including wood,agricultural residues and dung to meet their daily energy needs. Four out of fivelive in rural areas of South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa (Bruce et al., 2000). Inmany areas, women are the community members primarily tasked with providing energy security. For example, in India women collect 80% of the biomass“As deforestationrates increase,that is used for fuel (Singhal, 2000).women are forced toDeforestation is a serious problem in terms of energy availability. As deforesta-shift to alternativetion rates increase, women are forced to shift to alternative fuel sources suchas dung and crop residue (Global NTFP Partnership, 2006). The smoke frombiomass fuels, especially when alternative fuels must be used in the absence ofwood, are toxic and have been associated with acute lower respiratory infections, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and lung cancer in women andchildren in poor nations (Shandra, 2008). In fact, inhalation of sooty smoke fromfuel sources such asdung and cropresidue.”indoor fires is estimated to result in 1.6 million deaths each year (WHO, 2005).More women and children die from indoor air pollution than from malaria(International Energy Agency, 2010). These health problems are exacerbatedby deforestation because fires fueled by dung or crop residues require continuous tending resulting in increased exposure, increased illness and further loss oftime to conduct other activities (Buckingham-Hatfield, 2000).Fuel scarcity also translates into the preparation of less food and/or less nutritious food (Buckingham-Hatfield, 2000). For example, in Bangladesh, there hasbeen a shift from daily cooking of two meals to only one because of fuelwoodshortages. In Mexico a shift from the staple diet of beans to other less fuel intensive and nutritious foods has occurred (Huyun, 2005). In Vietnam, women whoPhoto: Dietmar Tempshave ample rice are able to both consume and sell rice and collect non-timberforest products, but poor women forgo their daily nutritional needs to save timeto gather fuel resources from nearby forests. These dietary shifts have important health implications for women including malnutrition and anemia whichincrease susceptibility to illness and pregnancy complications (Santow, 1995).11

WATERDomestic water is used for processing and preparing food, drinking, bathing and washing, irrigating home gardens and watering livestock. The timespent in locating, collecting, and transporting sufficient quantities of water forhousehold use is one of the most critical and time consuming daily activities forwomen and girls. For example, in Egypt 30% of women walk over an hour a dayto meet their water needs (FAO, 2003c), while in other parts of Africa womenand children spend eight hours a day collecting water (Gender and Water Alliance, 2003). Recent data shows that women and girls carry approximately 71%of the water when none is readily available (MICS and DHS surveys from 18African countries in 2005, 2006).In addition to time and energy burdens faced in procuring water as a resource,women and girls suffer physical harm from obtaining water and other naturalresources. For example, women frequently carry loads that weigh up to 75pounds, often on their heads and back. As collection distances increase, fuelwood and water loads have been linked to spine damage, pregnancy complications including miscarriage, and maternal mortality (Huyun, 2005). Further,women and girls face alarmingly high risks of being raped while gathering water and other natural resources. For example, in 2009 more than 8,000 womenPhoto: Lynn Johnson, Ripple Effect Imageswere raped while obtaining water and other resources in the provinces of NorthKivu and South Kivu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (UNFPA). Between1996 and 1997, in the Dadaab camps in northeast Kenya, approximately 90% ofreported rapes occurred while Somali women were gathering water, fuelwoodand tending livestock (Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children,2002).In addition to physical harm, women are more frequently exposed to disease,infection and toxic substances that contaminate water supplies simply becauseof their increased exposure to water. Contamination of water resources stemsfrom a variety of factors. For example, more than 80% of sewage in developing countries is discharged untreated, polluting rivers, lakes and coastal areas(Scott, 2004). Deforestation increases transmission of diseases that stem fromfecal contamination of water such as bacterial, cryptosporidium, and dysenteryinfections, and hepatitis (Lilly et al., 1997). For example, increases in hookworminfection during periods of flooding are often caused by deforestation-associated river silting that produces soil changes facilitating the transmission of thehookworm parasite (Lilly, 1997; Fuseini, 2010). It is estimated that about 44 million pregnant women have hookworm infections, posing a considerable healthburden in developing societies (Unicef, 2008).12

sources, often when washing clothesclosely linked to deforestation andor collecting water. The worm alsoother environmental changes andtakes a toll on societies by causinghave dramatic impacts on women’sabsenteeism among infected school-health include:aged children (see www.cartercenter. Filariasis: A parasitic diseaseorg).caused by thread-like worms. The Trachoma: 70% of the world’sworms may damage the lymph sys-blind are women; many of whomtem causing swelling which can leadhave been infected directly orto elephantiasis. Filariasis is spread bythrough their children, with Tra-mosquitoes.choma, a blinding bacterial eye Giardia lamblia: A microorgan-infection occurring in communitiesism (protozoa), sometimes foundwith limited access to water. This ratein drinking water, which may causeis 3 times the rate of men who are in-diarrhea, cramps, and illness (Giardia-fected (Women and Trachoma, 2009).Photo: Annie Griffiths, Ripple Effect ImagesAn array of other diseases that aresis). Giardia are commonly found insurface water sources like reservoirs,MALARIAlakes, and rivers. Schistosomiasis: A disease (alsoDeforestation has serious implica-called Bilharzia) caused by parasitictions for the spread of malaria (Walshworms found in freshwater. Schisto-et al., 1993; Ault, 1994; Taylor, 1997;somiasis can damage the liver, lungs,Olson 2010). In areas where malariaintestines and bladder.is highly endemic, semi-immunity to River blindness: A major causemalaria is acquired during the firstof preventable blindness. The dis-10-15 years of life. Therefore, whileease (onchocerciasis) is the world’sthe impact of malaria on children issecond-leading infectious cause ofenormous and in 2000 malaria wasblindness and is caused by parasiticthe cause of 18% of childhood deathsworms which are transmitted by(Rowe et al., 2000), adults with immu-the bite of the blackfly. Due to thenity are rarely affected by the disease.vector’s breeding habitat, the diseaseHowever, while malaria rates are lowis more severe along the major riversin most adults, pregnant women inin the northern and central areas ofendemic areas are highly susceptibleAfrica.to malaria in both frequency and Guinea worm:Infection oc-“In addition to time andenergy burdens facedin procuring water as aresource, women andgirls suffer physical harmfrom obtaining waterand other naturalresources. “severity. Malaria affects an estimatedcurs when a person ingests water24 million pregnant women, andcontaminated with aquatic crusta-each year 75,000-200,000 infantceans or water fleas that carry thedeaths are caused by malarial infec-Guinea worm larvae. Guinea wormtion during pregnancy (Steketee,disease often afflicts women who2001). Pregnancies are also associat-are exposed to contaminated watered with high rates of maternal death13

from fever, severe anemia, abortion, stillbirth, and low birth weights (Brabin,1983; Steketee et al., 2001; Uneke, 2007).Deforestation (and in some instances mining) increases malarial transmissions in three ways: habitat modification, population migration of people andchanges in feeding patterns of mosquitoes (Pattanayak et al., 2006; Vitter et al.,2009). When habitat is disrupted by deforestation, mosquitoes that breed inpartial shade or sunlit waters replace forest breeding mosquitoes (Olsen, 2010).These new mosquitoes are often more efficient vectors than those replacedpopulations. Deforestation can also result in a massive increase in mosquitobreeding sites. Dragging logs through the forest can cause water-filled furrows.Tire marks, hoof prints, and even human footprints can provide ideal breedingPhoto: Stuart Williamsplaces for mosquitoes. Removal of vegetation along stream edges; slowing ofwater runoff by debris; and impoundment for water supplies; accumulationof coconut shells, tins, tires, and other rubbish; and pooling of water in treestumps, all increase the mosquito population numbers (Walsh et al., 1993).Specific examples of where deforestation has resulted in an increase in malariainclude; in Brazil a 4.3% change in deforestation from August 1997 throughAugust 2000 is associated with a 48% increase of malaria incidence (Olsen etal., 2010). The clearing of forests in Malaysia for forestry and mining led to amarked increase in the numbers of mosquitoes and associated malaria cases(Bockarie a

contents 2 3 executive summary 5 women, poverty and natural resource management 5 poverty 7 land tenure 9 education 10 health 17 engage women, drive change 17 empowering women to manage natural resources 21 engaging women in natural resource management is good for women 23 engaging women in natural resource management is good for