Around the world, men and women have different roles in managing forests, different access to forests, and different ways of using forest resources. Forestry tends to be perceived as male dominated but women are also foresters, often gathering food for their family and for income. In fact, women in forest communities can generate more than 50% of their income from forests, compared to about a third for men.
Despite improvements in the policy environment, women often have less secure land rights and access to forests, and participate less in decision-making and forest management. Decisions made without considering women’s forestry roles tend to have a ripple effect, negatively impacting women, their households and consequently the livelihoods of five to ten times as many people. On the other hand, forests and gender research has shown that involving women in decision-making at all levels has positive effects on many forest management issues including resource sustainability, forest regeneration and conflict management.
By understanding the complexities of forests and gender, opportunities to create equity and improve forest management are often brought to light. Our research focuses on the roles of both men and women, and how to create equity in the access, use and management of forests.