Indigenous peoples, gender, and natural resource management
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The paper reflects on issues of ethnicity and gender in relationship to each other and to natural resource management. The assumption is that indigenous women face the same struggles as other women, as well as the same disadvantages of their fellow indigenous men (such as lack of rights to their ancestral territory). It is within this position that indigenous women's issues become doubly invisible. Based on 'women and environment' literature review the author presents the historical focus on gender, indigenous peoples and natural resources management. Results show common interests between indigenous peoples, women, and nature; they are both victims of environmental degradation. The paper explains that gender division of labor resulted in differentiated knowledge and use of natural resources. Indigenous women gained vast knowledge in plant biodiversity and agriculture; using plants for health, sanitation, nutrition, and storage of food and water. The relationship between gender, natural resources degradation, and modernization are also explored. As more indigenous men turn to wage labor, indigenous women are left with the extra burden to open fields lacking the tools for doing so they become economically dependent on their husbands. The author highlights some of the research difficulties due to women's occupations being classified as reproductive and as consumers of natural resources. The paper concludes saying that gender is an important piece to the understanding of indigenous peoples' relationship to natural resource management and also a critical aspect to consider in conservation and development. Nevertheless the author also reminds us that the discussion of gender equality and equity referring to indigenous peoples' natural resource management must be situated within the struggle for self determination, and continued ethnic discrimination. It is important to demystify the term gender; by including both men and women, and in recognizing that access does not always guarantee full participation and decision power.