Gender makes the difference in biodiversity

Across the globe, women predominate as wild plant gatherers, home gardeners and plant domesticators, herbalists and seed custodians.

Research on 60 home gardens in Thailand revealed 230 different species, many of which had been rescued by women from neighboring forests before being cleared.

Women in different regions of Latin America, Asia and Africa manage the interface between wild and domesticated species of edible plants. This role dates back to 15,000-19,000 B.C.

Women and men often have different knowledge about, and preferences for, plants and animals. For example, women’s criteria for choosing certain food crop seeds may include cooking time, meal quality, taste, resistance to bird damage and ease of collection, processing, preservation and storage. Men are more likely to consider yield, suitability for a range of soil types and ease of storage. Both are essential for human welfare.

Women provide close to 80% of the total wild vegetable food collected in 135 different subsistence-based societies. Women often have specialized knowledge about “neglected” species.

The majority of plant biodiversity research is not gender sensitive. This has led to incomplete or erroneous scientific results with respect to the diversity, characteristics and uses of plants, and the causes and potential responses to genetic erosion. Integrating women’s traditional knowledge into botanical and ethno-botanical research, and protecting all informants’ rights, are critical for improved knowledge and management.

In spite of the fact that an increasing number of experiences are highlighting the sustainable manner in which women use biological diversity, it is often true that women do so without equitable participation in the access and control of such resources. There is a tendency to ignore the natural spaces predominantly used by women in favor of those used by men, and to undervalue non-commercial (mostly female) production spaces in favor of commercial (mostly male) production spaces.

Therefore, it is necessary to make visible the gender-differentiated practices and knowledge of women and men in their relations with biodiversity resources. Despite considerable efforts over the past fifteen years at national and international fora, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity, very little progress has been made in understanding the fundamental roles that women play in managing and conserving biodiversity. It is essential to recognize that women and men have particular needs, interests and aspirations, and that they make different contributions to the conservation and sustainable management of biodiversity. Making visible the various roles women play in biodiversity conservation, sustainable use of resources and survival of the human species is only the beginning.

Source :  WIKI  GENDER

Compiled for this website by:  Garedew  Yilma

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