& Development, Inc.
Volume 1, Spring 1992
Women in the Environment
In November, 1991, 600 women representing 83 countries
gathered in Miami, Florida as participants in a Global Assembly. As part
of a worldwide celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the United Nations'
Environmental Programme and in preparation for the Conference on
Environment and Development (UNCED), this meeting highlighted
women's initiatives in environmental management related to water, waste,
energy, and environmentally friendly technologies.
My role at the conference was to represent TR&D as a "mentor",
along with others selected from corporations, foundations, academia,
international organizations, governments, and non-governmental
organizations. Our purpose was to assess elements of leadership,
requirements for success, and ways that institutions, individually and
collectively, can replicate successful projects and advance opportunities
for women in environmental management.
The Global Assembly brought together speakers who highlighted
some 200 success stories, demonstrating how potential and actual
environmental degradation had been recognized, averted, or mitigated
through various actions. The Assembly dramatically illustrated the
capacity of women's leadership and the potential that women's leadership
can have in environmental management at all levels of society. Beyond
the powerful call for expansion of a women's global environmental network
and the demonstration of women's involvement in all phases of
environmental management, there was a determination of those involved
to improve the lives of people in their urban and rural communities
through environmental action.
Issues were raised and concerns voiced in response to this
determination A common theme was the critical need for completion and
acceptance of international conventions in such areas as handling
industrial waste and hazardous chemicals, including pesticides The
Conference provided an unusual opportunity for interaction among women
from different continents. It was especially exciting to see some 20
women from various countries, with no common language, utilizing only
pictures and models to capture an audience's attention, sharing their
experiences in improved cook stove technology.
The. continued success of this nascent partnership of women
requires cooperative action of all of us who must blend the best of
tradition, a knowledge of basic biology, and the brightest of new ideas and
technology to assure that the world's ecological systems can continue to
sustain human life.
Participation in the Conference reinforced my belief that
development activities should follow a participatory process in decision
making. Development and planning should take a long range view and
strive for sustainable utilization of the natural resource base by assuring
that: all affected parties have a role in determining what development
takes place, costs and benefits for development are clearly understood,
ip' ,Sally Dickinson,
President, TR&D, Inc.
The role of women in development permeates
development issues, and has been a vital part of
TR&D's activities since its establishment in 1985.
The unique expertise offered by TR&D staff and
consultants enables the firm to use a practical
approach to develop and disseminate technical
information and skills relevant to women. Here is
what some of our professionals are doing.
Ms. Villeda is a recent addition to the TR&D
team as the Chief of Party for the company's long
term Forestry Based Enterprise Project in
Honduras. This four year project in a remote pine
forest area will involve men and women in the
creation of individual and small micro enterprises
including crafts and wood product manufacturing,
oxen logging, and ecotourism.
Mr. John Lichte
As one of the leading experts in gender
issues, Mr. Lichte has been heavily involved in
designing and conducting gender analysis
workshops. One of his major concerns when
working on projects is that WID considerations are
incorporated throughout the project.
Dr. Sandra Russo
Dr. Russo is six months into a two year
project under CGIAR designed to assess
agricultural programs around the world to see what
research programs are doing in agriculture to affect
women, and surveying senior scientist and senior
administrative staffs to see what is being done to
recruit and retain female professionals. So far, Dr.
Russo has traveled to Colombia, Nigeria, India, and
Syria gathering information for the project's
Tropical Research & Development, Inc.
519 N. W 60th Street, Suite D
Gainesville, Florida 32607
WID versus Gender
The terms "Women in Development" (WID) and
"Gender" may be confusing. What do they mean? Are there
consequences of using one over the other in terms of policy,
project, and programs?
The focus on WID began with Esther Boserup's
Women's Role in Economic Development. Published in 1970,
the book documented often unforseen and negative
consequences to women of many development activities. This
theme was subsequently addressed by researchers as data
was collected on a worldwide basis. Most development
programs and polices presented problems to
women as their contribution to economic w
production and the reproduction of society
was often ignored in program and policy
development. As the role of WID became a
worldwide concern involving both national
and international researchers and activists,
focus was primarily on women, with only
some comparisons to the larger society and
The term "Gender" that came into
widespread use in the 1980s, sought to -
remedy the isolation of women and WID U
issues, and to include the activities and
problems of both sexes in research and
development endeavors. The concept of gender focuses on
the socially defined characteristics of men and women in
particular situations in terms of the tasks they do and the
results of these tasks. Gender analysis has become
commonly accepted to analyze roles and to apply that
analysis to decisions about programs, policies and projects.
The use of the concept of gender facilitated
addressing such issues as efficiency and equity. Women's
exclusion from development activities can be seen in the light
of restricting the success of the project, i.e., decreasing
efficiency. Whether or not women are decreasing, maintaining
or increasing their position vis-a-vis men in the new and
changed situation can also be assessed. Both the collection
and analysis of data (on work, access to resources, control
over resources, etc.), if carried out with a gender perspective,
will increase the knowledge about men and human resources
in general as well as about women.
As a result of the WID emphasis in the previous two
decades, many governments and international agencies
tended to have women-specific policies and projects, some
evolving from a focus on domestic sciences and health to that
of small scale income generating activities.
SAlthough women receive all of the benefits
from such programs or projects, these
activities tend to be small and underfunded,
with women often marginalized from the
mainstream of development efforts.
Over time, two other methods have
been used: the women's component and the
integrated approach. The former usually has
greater resources and is of higher priority
than WID-specific activities, and allows
women to receive at least part of the project
or program's resources. The integrated
approach allows women to have the
advantages of the total resources of the
project or program.
In sum, the focus on both WID and gender are both
still needed, because gender analysis gives WID a broader
scope, and always encompasses the role and contribution of
41,,ltjSpripng hl just completed three years as the Chief of
the lW'omeni in Agricultural Production and Rural Development
Service at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United
Nations. Currentiv she is an Associate Professor of
Anthropolog' at the University' of Florida.
PERMIT NO. 143