International Women’s Day – women in forest communities need louder voice

07 March 2011 | Media advisory

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.

Key issues:
• “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.”

Interview partners are available in Spanish, French and English.

For more information contact:
Nicki Chadwick, Media Relations Officer, t +41 22 999 0229, m +41 79 528 3486, e nicki.chadwick@iucn.org
Daniel Shaw, Gender Communications Officer, t +41 22 999 0168, e daniel.shaw@iucn.org