Background: To mark the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day on Tuesday March 8th 2011, IUCN is calling for women in forest communities to be given more control of the management of forests and to be involved in decisions relating to them.
Women across the developing world are primary users of forest resources and their sale of non-timber forest products is vital to the livelihood of many families. Their heavier dependence on forests also means that women have more at stake than men when forests are cut down or forest access is denied.
During the International Year of Forests, IUCN says that the needs and concerns of women are often neglected because the ownership of forests is largely under the control of men. IUCN is calling for women’s needs to be given higher priority and to form an integral part of the management of forests and their resources.
· “Taking a gender perspective in forestry has nothing to do with political correctness and everything to do with effective development and conservation: an awareness of the dynamics between men and women in forest resources can only help ensure that these resources are used sustainably and equitably,” says Lorena Aguilar, IUCN’s Senior Gender Advisor. “If we ignore gender, there is no doubt that we will fail in our efforts to strengthen forests’ contribution to poverty reduction, biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.”
· “We need to start taking gender issues more seriously, not only to make our work more effective but also to redress gender imbalances by giving women a louder voice, strengthening women’s rights and ensuring that women get their fair share of benefits,” says Stewart Maginnis, Director of IUCN’s Environment and Development Group. “This means taking women into account not only when planning projects but also when designing policy that will affect forest communities.”
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IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges. IUCN works on biodiversity, climate change, energy, human livelihoods and greening the world economy by supporting scientific research, managing field projects all over the world, and bringing governments, NGOs, the UN and companies together to develop policy, laws and best practice. IUCN is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organization, with more than 1,000 government and NGO members and almost 11,000 volunteer experts in some 160 countries. IUCN’s work is supported by over 1,000 staff in 60 offices and hundreds of partners in public, NGO and private sectors around the world.