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Gender Justice and Forests

Forest ecosystems are crucial to maintaining countless diverse but interconnected systems that sustain people’s livelihoods, replenish water sources, and nurture biodiversity, which all combine to form important parts of a healthy environment. Deforestation has a direct negative impact on these dependent/connected systems because in addition to causing the destruction of biodiversity, drying of water sources, and soil erosion, it also directly impacts forest communities. This then creates new inequalities and exacerbates existing ones since people lose their primary livelihood means, their territories, as well as the socio-cultural activities deeply linked to their forests. Often, Indigenous and rural women are disproportionately affected by forest loss given their daily roles and practices that depend on healthy forest ecosystems. Ultimately this leads to a disproportionate increase in women’s burden of work, both reproductive and productive.

Women in all their diversity experience marginalization in multiple and intersecting ways, depending on their social status, ethnicity, age, class, sexual orientation, and gender identity, amongst others. They face systemic barriers from patriarchal social norms that exclude them from decision-making to discriminatory laws and practices that prevent their access to land and forests. Extractive activities supported by a capitalist economic system that privileges GDP growth and corporations over people’s welfare and healthy ecosystems lead to the degradation of forests and the violation of women’s rights. Consequently, it is integral to analyse the gender-differentiated impacts of the drivers of deforestation and to promote women’s rights in forest conservation policies.

GFC collaborates with local women’s groups and communities to research and understand the impacts of deforestation at the community level and document community-based and women-led initiatives and solutions to halt biodiversity loss. Capacity building from local to global levels on gender-responsive forest policies and women’s rights, decision-making, and participation in forest conservation is also a key strategy of GFC. The Gender Justice and Forests Campaign advocates for women’s rights and gender-responsive forest conservation policies, and also seeks to integrate gender justice into all our other policies and GFC campaign activities.

The Global Forest Coalition is a strategic partner of Women Engage for a Common Future (WECF) in the Green Livelihoods Alliance’s “Forests for a Just Future” Programme. GFC is collaborating closely with WECF, which is engaged as a GLA technical partner on gender.

We work with the Women’s Major Group (WMG) on sustainable development as well as tracking developments at UN Environment processes.

We are part of the Women and Gender Constituency at UNFCCC process, the CBD Women’s Caucus at the Convention on Biodiversity, and Women4Biodiversity.

We were a partner of the #Women2030 Programme, which promoted gender-responsive implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in 52 countries around the world under the leadership of coalition of five organisations. Follow #women2030 Facebook and Twitter

gender justice

Key publications

A gendered perspective on the proposed EU Regulation on deforestation-free products
Forest Cover 66: Gender justice and livestock farming: A feminist analysis of livestock and forest policy-making
Forest Cover 65: Gender justice and climate action: A feminist analysis of forest and climate policy-making
Women2030 global shadow report: Gender equality on the ground: Feminist findings and recommendations for achieving Agenda 2030
“Toward Buen Vivir with Gender Equality and Environmental Justice: Gender Analysis of the Sustainable Development Goals in Five Countries in Latin America”
The impacts of tree plantations on women, and women-led resistance to monocultures
#women2030 Media Training Toolkit
Implementing SDG 15.2: GFC’s analysis in Armenia, Benin, Colombia and Paraguay
Bioenergy in West Africa – impacts on women and forests

Key Articles

Respect for women’s rights at stake: The gap between real life and the UN’s good intentions
Women’s rights and traditional knowledge are crucial for conserving biodiversity in Kyrgyzstan
Forest conservation must address violence against women
Land rights and livelihoods key to achieving sustainable development for Kenya’s indigenous women
Forest loss for large-scale agriculture and extractive industries goes hand in hand with violence against women
New times for women and gender issues in biodiversity conservation