Gender analysis in forestry research
Between 2001–2011, the evaluation of men’s and women’s participation in community forestry initiatives and the commercialising of forest products and market access dominated gender-focused forestry research. Community forestry studies were mostly conducted in South Asia, while market access studies predominated in Africa. Most community forestry studies took place in India and Nepal, likely due to a long pattern of devolution reforms in forest management in the region. Market access studies were motivated by the focus on poverty reduction in the 1990s. Integrating gender into forest research is constrained by the broad perception that forestry is a male-dominated profession, lack of clarity among researchers about gender and a lack of technical skills, interest and/or awareness of gender. Women’s involvement is not a foregone conclusion. On the one hand, some women have little interest in forest management; on the other, casual attempts to include women can simply add to their labour burden. Further research is needed on the nature and quality of governance arrangements; the dynamics and division of labour between men and women in mixed forest user-groups; how to transform incentives and attitudes of forestry officials; replicating ‘critical mass’ studies in settings other than Nepal and India; the implications of global processes; and interventions and trends on women’s relative participation in decision making and benefits capture.