Although most of the state agencies and NGOs studied have some kind of gender policy or strategy, very few promote indigenous women's participation in decisions related to natural resources or forests. Even in communities where women believe they have influence over many important decisions, they do not have similar influence over forest-related decisions. Lack of confidence in local authorities has paralysed the participation of both men and women community members. Thus, efforts to address women's participation may be ineffective if local governance and accountability are not addressed. Both communities and outside institutions need to reflect critically on their gendered assumptions regarding forests and design and monitor specific strategies to support women's effective participation.