Gender + Conservation: A New Blog Series

This is the first post in Human Nature’s “Gender + Conservation” series. Read other posts in the series. 

Men and women use natural resources in different ways. In coastal Madagascar, for example, men fish in carved out wooden boats, while women harvest octopuses from the reef flat.

woman in Madagascar

Young woman in Madagascar. (© Cristina Mittermeier)

Understanding those differences, and the roles that men and women play in natural resource management and decision-making, is key to ensuring that their unique uses of resources are taken into account, and that conservation efforts will benefit everyone.

But what does it mean to incorporate gender into a conservation project or program? What does a “gender-integrated” project look like? At CI, we are working closely with our staff around the world to find out.

Using guidance and best practices from a myriad of other organizations, agencies and experts, CI has developed draft guidelines for integrating gender into conservation projects. These guidelines help staff to gather sociocultural information in the project area, such as what activities men and women participate in, how decisions are made, and what barriers may keep men or women from participating in the project.

These guidelines are written specifically for conservation project managers working closely with communities. Over the last six months, we have partnered with staff in seven countries around the world — Timor-Leste, Colombia, Ecuador, Madagascar, Guyana, Peru and Bolivia — to pilot these guidelines and see what it really looks like to implement them on the ground.

This blog begins a series that Human Nature will publish over the coming months, showcasing each of these unique and inspiring pilot projects. From coastal Timor-Leste to the sky-scraping salt flats of Bolivia, and from the steamy Colombian Amazon to the rainforests of Madagascar, this blog series will feature voices from the field sharing why gender is so important in their work with communities, and how they have begun to incorporate it into their projects.

Starting tomorrow, keep an eye out on Human Nature for these intriguing stories, which provide a powerful reminder of the inextricable link between culture and conservation.

Kame Westerman is the advisor on gender and conservation in CI’s Center for Environment and Peace. Read the next post in this series


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    The impact of male influence on conservationn over rides the female in most African communities, especcially were poverty is great.

    African men who drink and more illiterate tend to be more dangerous to the environment than women.

  4. Ash C. says


    As a young women and undergraduate (as an aspiring conservation biologist & activist) I find this blog series to be extremely empowering & inspiring. I look forward to following this series, as I embark on my education and career and come into my own as a woman.

    Thank you for highlighting the uniqueness of women and conservation, this aspect should be at the fore-front of dialogue, research, and advocacy.

    Best wishes and many thanks!

  5. Pingback: To Protect Madagascar’s Forests, Men and Women Play Different Roles | Human Nature - Conservation International Blog

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