Celebrating International Women's Day 2013
Over the past couple of years, scientists, managers and staff members at CIFOR and its sister centers have contributed in different ways towards the development of our gender strategy. Today, the world celebrates International Women's Day, applauding global achievements and improving the status of women and recognising the joint effort still ahead of us. We too shall celebrate through a series of products that highlight our achievements: the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry gender strategy, gender at a glance, a gender factsheet, Women and forests: research for change video, and blog entries, in addition to other products all available on the website.
The strategy focuses on the management support processes and structures needed to improve the quality and volume of gender-responsive research in the CGIAR Research Program Forests, Trees and Agroforestry. Overall, this strategy views gender integration in research as a fundamental part of doing good science and integrates gender analysis and research into each of the five components/research programmes of the CGIAR Research Program Forests, Trees and Agroforestry.
Despite studies demonstrating the important roles women play in managing forests, agroforestry and tree genetic resources, women's contributions remain underappreciated. Women continue to be disadvantaged by insecure access and property rights to forest, trees and land resources, by discrimination and by exclusion from decision making processes. Clearly, effective gender inclusion not only enhances the prospects for sustainable forest and tree management, but provides a solid foundation for more equitable benefit distribution, household food security and nutrition.
Gender roles are the socially defined tasks, responsibilities and behaviors that are considered appropriate for women and men in a particular community. There are significant gaps in research aimed at understanding how the complementary roles and responsibilities of men and women could improve sustainable forest management. Addressing these gaps will be vital to improve forest management policies.
The United Nations General Assembly defines sustainable forest management (SFM) as a "dynamic and evolving concept, which aims to maintain andenhance the economic, social and environmental values of all types of forests ...
We should not act as if we know for certain how to achieve sustainable management and use of forests.
In Brazil's Amazon, the voices of forest women are rarely heard.
We have found that an integrated approach to conservation is what works. We introduced better ways to grow the food local people wanted, microcredit programmes especially for women, better health facilities, and environmental education.
Forest destruction remains one of the biggest environmental challenges facing Kenya, and the media are crucial in raising awareness of it.
Women's participation in decision making in forest committees has been demonstrated to increase forest sustainability.
The traditional leaders accept me because I am a woman who advocates for their rights. … But also as a woman I face limitations because only male elders can attend traditional gatherings.
Gender analysis is integral to CIFOR's aspiration to analyse issues in ways that are reliably inclusive of the perspectives of women and other less powerful stakeholders. Our work has demonstrated that men's and women's knowledge and use of forest species is extensive and differentiated. It has quantified impacts on men's and women's livelihoods that result from their differing access, use and management of forest products. And it has spotlighted the importance of including women in forest resource governance.
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