This year’s theme for the International Day of Rural Women is “Building rural women’s resilience in the wake of COVID-19”. On this occasion, we have asked CGIAR centers and programs to describe how their research is supporting rural women during times of crises. This post, by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), is one in series of responses.
Q & A with Markus Ihalainen of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)
Rural women play an essential role in using and managing natural resources in forest and tree-based landscapes across the world — at least they should.
When women are able to participate in decision-making and equitably share resources and benefits, policies and projects in the forest sector often see increased buy-in and improved outcomes; while initiatives that ignore gender difference or exclude women tend to reinforce or even exacerbate existing inequalities, according to a 2017 brief from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).
Even so, the forestry sector has historically given limited attention to gender dynamics, said Markus Ihalainen, senior research officer at CIFOR. Although changes are occurring, much work remains to adequately address the social structures and power relations that produce or reinforce inequalities.
While gender equality is a human right and a fundamental condition for achieving sustainable development goals, women remain at a disadvantage, often wielding less power than men.
Decision-making, accessing benefits from forest and tree resources and the capacity to respond effectively to changes such as deforestation or degradation in forest and tree-based landscapes are some areas where rights may be curtailed, he said during an interview to mark the International Day of Rural Women on Thursday.