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Gender and Biodiversity

Gender PhotoGender equality and women’s empowerment are powerful levers for change. Women are vital to conservation and resilience-building efforts, and gender equality is intrinsically linked to achieving sustainable development goals. Yet gender inequalities and gaps persist: women’s unique and crucial roles, responsibilities and knowledge in natural resource use and management are often overlooked; women commonly face obstructed access to resources, markets, and services; and they are underrepresented in—if not restricted from—decision-making spheres at all levels. The result is a lost opportunity for environmental initiatives to achieve multiple benefits, amplify results, and increase effectiveness, as gender equality and women’s empowerment leads to more successful, efficient and equitable environment and conservation outcomes.

Advancing Gender in the Environment (AGENT) supports USAID in integrating gender considerations throughout its environmental programing. Implemented by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), AGENT strengthens biodiversity conservation work through the curation and development of new resources and tools to increase awareness and capacity on gender issues.

Cultivating a more sustainable and equitable future for all

In their daily roles as farmers, foresters, caretakers, household providers and more, women use and manage natural resources. In developing countries, women make up an average of 43 percent of the agricultural labor force, where if they had the same access to productive resources as men, they could increase their farm yield by 20 to 30 percent, thereby reducing the number of hungry people in the world by 12 to 17 percent. In South Asia, 70 percent of rural women are farmers while 60 percent of rural women across Africa also farm. As women often carry the burden for household and community food needs as well as taking care of resources like forests, the depletion of natural resources can increase the time and work burden on women. With such a close connection to forests, fields and plants, women have unique experiences and knowledge and can offer important perspectives in natural resources governance. When women are able to participate equitably in--and make decisions about--management of forestry and biodiversity, not only are commitments to gender equality and women’s empowerment upheld, but it also generates stronger, more equitable conservation outcomes.

Key Resources

Biodiversity and Development Handbook
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