Front Cover
 Title Page
 Trees in the household economy
 Complementary uses of forest...
 A deepening crisis
 How women react: A global...
 Implications for development
 Back Cover

Title: Restoring the balance
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00089941/00001
 Material Information
Title: Restoring the balance women and forest resources
Series Title: Restoring the balance
Alternate Title: Women and forest resources
Physical Description: 32 p. : ill., ports ; 30 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Sweden -- Styrelsen för internationell utveckling
Publisher: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations ;
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Swedish International Development Authority
Place of Publication: Rome
Publication Date: 1988?
Subject: Forests and forestry -- Social aspects   ( lcsh )
Rural women   ( lcsh )
Women in agriculture   ( lcsh )
Genre: international intergovernmental publication   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (p. 32).
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00089941
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 19792443

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Title Page
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
    Trees in the household economy
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
    Complementary uses of forest resources
        Page 14
        Page 15
    A deepening crisis
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
    How women react: A global round-up
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
    Implications for development
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
    Back Cover
        Page 33
        Page 34
Full Text

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women and forest resources

As forest and tree resources become scarcer, the
balance between what people need and what they can
obtain shifts. For rural families, the struggle to survive
becomes even harder.
The effect on women is particularly severe because
women are more dependent than men on tree and
forest products, and because they are taking on an ever
increasing share of family work as men seek cash
incomes further afield. Furthermore, in failing to
recognize the importance of forestry resources to
women, development experts often introduce
technologies and activities that cut women off from a
critical resource.
If development plans are to succeed in reducing rural
poverty, the balance between women and their forest
resources must be restored.
This publication describes the importance of forest
products to women, the difficulties women now have in
obtaining them, and what can be done to improve the





trees for food 4
trees for fuel 6
trees for fodder 8
trees for the household 10
trees for income 12

complementary uses of forest resources 14


the effects of resource depletion 17
changes in family structure 20
the effects of new technologies 22
losing out on development 22

how women react: a global round-up 24

case histories from
India, Cape Verde, Honduras, China, the Sudan,
Thailand, Korea, Kenya, Jamaica and Indonesia


the role of women in forestry projects 28
constraints to participation 29
evolving future policies 31



The tree is an extraordinary plant. It
produces leaves, fruit and nuts year
after year, season after season.
Because of its deep roots, it can do so at
times when annual plants are either
dead or scarcely germinated. It accum-
ulates its productivity in the form of
wood that, if not harvested one year, is
safely preserved for another. Its size,
above and below ground, allows it to
provide shade and to increase soil
fertility. Once established, it can do
all this with little or no human
Trees also provide an extraordinary
variety of products for human use:
fruit and nuts for nourishment, leaves
and pods for fodder, bark for medic-
ines, resins for chemicals, roots for
flavourings, fibres for making ropes
and clothes, twigs for kindling, wood
for burning, branches for thatch, and
poles for building and fencing- to
mention only a few.
In the forest, whole communities
depend for their livelihoods on such
products. But rural communities
throughout the world also depend for
many of their needs on the products of
the trees and shrubs that grow locally.
FAO, by establishing its special action
programme on Forestry for Local
Community Development in the late
1970s, has already formally acknow-
ledged the importance of trees in rural
But we now need to go further. Trees
are important in rural economies
largely as a result of the uses to which
they are put by women. In many
societies, it is women who must find
and transport the fuelwood that their
families need. It is often women, not
men, who gather wild fruit and nuts,
find fodder for their domestic stock,
and make medicines and other
products from woody materials.
Women often also earn what little
cash income they have from activities
that relate, directly or indirectly, to
trees and forests.
In many rural societies, a special
relationship therefore exists between
women, the family and trees. This fact
has been only rarely acknowledged in
past development programmes. As in

other areas, too many projects have been
unwittingly targeted at men with the
result that women have sometimes not
only failed to benefit from such projects
but even been actively disadvantaged by
The message of this publication is two-
fold. First, development planners and
forestry experts have much to learn from
rural women. Women have a detailed
knowledge of their surrounding flora
that few experts can match. Further-
more, only women can identify
accurately how future projects are likely
to affect them, and in what ways they
need help. Secondly, projects that aim to
foster local community development can
be more effective with the support of
The aim of rural development is to
alleviate poverty. The basic reason why

women now need special attention is
that, though women work longer hours
than men in most rural societies, they
are also poorer. We have a respon-
sibility to ensure that future
development projects correct rather
than worsen this imbalance.

Edouard Saouma
Food and Agriculture Organization
of the United Nations

women in Lesotho
planting out
saplings in a


trees can provide
five essential
elements in the

1. food
2. fuel
3. fodder
4. products for
the home; and
5. income

Trees in the household economy

In non-industrial regions, trees are inextricably woven into the
rural and household economies. They are used to provide fuel,
fodder and food. They supply medicines and shade, increased soil
fertility, shelter from the wind and protection from the rain. From
them women fashion many of the products used in the house- and,
often enough, the house itself. Perhaps most importantly of all,
trees and forests provide many rural women with their only source
of personal income.

Trees for food

The home gardens of south-east Asia
provide the most vivid illustration of the
importance of trees in providing family
food. Within perhaps 50 metres of each
dwelling can be found bananas, coconuts,
sugar apples, mangos, star apples, guavas,
avocados, and bread fruit. In Indonesia, no
less than 37 species of fruit trees have
been found growing in just one home
garden. Even in societies in the Middle
East, many women plant fruit trees within
their walls.
Fruit is part of the regular diet of most
people. But trees provide many other
forms of nutrition. Nuts- high in both
calories and protein- are an obvious
example. Cashew nuts, in particular, are
highly prized in many African countries.
And in the Kalahari, the staple food of the
Bushmen comes from the mongongo tree
(Ricinodendron digitata), which provides
both a fruit and a nut. The nut is roasted
and, if necessary, stored.
The leaves, seeds, pods, sap and bark of
trees form part of the diet of many rural
people. The leaves of the baobab, rich in
vitamins, are a major ingredient of the
sauces served with starchy foods in some
African countries. The vitamin-rich fruit
from the same tree is known as monkey
bread. The seeds from locust trees (Parkia
species) are cooked like beans, or
fermented and added to sauces. This food,

which is rich in protein and fats, is known
as dawa dawain one African country and is
much used in soup. The sap of palm trees
is made into wine, while the seeds of other
palms can be used as an oil that is
important in providing energy and vitamin
A, lack of which causes eye lesions in small
children. In the south-west Pacific, the
pith of the sago palm is processed into a
basic food, high in starch, that is used in
the preparation of soups, cakes and
Trees also provide food in a number of
indirect ways. Rural people use nearby
forests as an important source of both
honey and edible fungi, for instance. A
study in north-east Zambia found that
what was catalogued as useless forest land
was actually a major source of leafy wild
vegetables and mushrooms, as well as
caterpillars. These three items were major
sources of protein and cash income; all
three fall within women's responsibilities,
and were processed or sold by women.
In nearly every society trees are used,
either in the fields, in the homestead or
both, as a means of increasing soil fertility,
preventing soil erosion and altering micro-
climates so that annual crops may grow
better. In the fierce heat of some tropical
countries, the shade that trees provide is
essential to the survival of domestic
Trees, directly and indirectly, thus
provide rural women with a substantial
portion of their families' diets. But they do

more than that: they are often the only
reliable source of food for the family when
crops fail or during the lean periods
between harvests. In Tanzania, two or
three tree species are enough to provide
some food for every month of the year.
Research has shown that these trees are
used more intensively during famines or
droughts, illustrating their important role
in providing food security. Furthermore,
once established, trees need little care, and
the food they provide often requires no
effort other than picking or collecting.
Much of the food that trees produce can
also be stored without further processing.
Trees can provide produce at times of the
year when annual crops never can, simply
because their deep roots give them access
to moisture throughout the year. The
mango, for example, provides its fruit at the
beginning of the rainy reason, when other
crops are just being planted and the
harvest is still distant. In the Sahel,
pressure of work during planting can be so
intense that there is not enough time to
cook, and many families rely for
nourishment on mango fruit which grow in
the fields themselves.
The importance of the food obtained
from trees is reflected in the laws and
customs of many societies. Women, for
example, often have the right to utilize
breadfruit in the Pacific area even though
the tree itself is the province of men, who
use it as a source of wood for furniture and
canoes. In Nigeria, women may have rights

to the kernel but not to the oil of the palm
which is often sold as a cash crop.
Because women are aware of the utility of
trees on the homestead, they take good
care to plant and maintain them. In many
if not most rural societies, it is only the
women who have accumulated the
traditional knowledge about the foods and
other household products that trees can
supply. A survey in Sierra Leone has
revealed, for example, that women could
name 31 products that they gathered or
made from the nearby bush while men
named only 8.

typical home
garden in south-
east Asia

1. bananas
2. mangos
3. coconuts
4. living fence
5. shade trees
6. vegetable
7. poultry


trees and forests
provide many
different forms of

a. fruit
b. nuts
c. pods
d. leaves
e. bark/sap
f. honey
g. fungi

Trees for fuel

A full granary is no guarantee against
famine. Without fuel to cook with, as the
women of the Sahel know well, there may
be nothing to eat.
Fueling and tending the household fire
has always been women's work. So has the
much harderjob of collecting and trans-
porting the fuel. One study has shown that
in Nepal women and girls together collect
84 percent of the fuel. Since in many
countries fuelwood comprises 80 or 90
percent of all the wood consumed, this
implies that women locate and fetch well
over half of all the wood extracted from
trees and forests.
Collecting and transporting fuelwood
has always been arduous. Fuelwood
shortages, though worse today than ever
before, are not new: in 1795, a European
explorer in what is now the Niger noticed
that all wood had been stripped within
three kilometres of the city of Kaarta.
Today women have to walk much further
than three kilometres to collect their

fuelwood, and fuelwood for large towns and
cities often now comes from 100 km away.
The fuelwood shortage in Bangladesh, for
example, is so severe that rural women and
children spend an average of 3-5 hours a
day gathering and transporting fuel.
Women have acquired an intimate,
practical knowledge of the suitability of
different tree species for cooking. Women
know which trees bur slowly and which
fast, which smoke and which kindle easily.
The extent of this knowledge is often
surprising. In Burkina Faso, for example,
women who joined a discussion about
what tree species to plant in a forestry
project spoke authoritatively about a
certain variety of Eucalyptus. They knew
that burning its leaves kept away
mosquitos and that boiling them produced
a broth useful for treating colds. They
admitted that because the Eucalyptus
thrives even under arid conditions, and is
not preferred by animals for fodder, it
might seem useful for fuelwood
plantations. But they pointed out that no
part of the tree could be eaten by people or
domestic stock. They said they found its

social fires, like
this one in the
Amazonian rain-
forest, are an
important part of
life in most rural

The effects of fuelwood shortages

A survey in eight villages in north-eastern
Thailand, where deforestation is becoming
severe, has revealed how fuel shortages
affect Thai village life. As wood becomes
increasingly scarce, women can no longer
select the size and types of wood they
prefer. Roots and stumps previously left in
the fields for coppicing are removed for fuel,
and fresh branches are cut from healthy
trees (even taboo ones). The weight of fuel
used for cooking tends not to diminish,
unlike the quality of the fuel which drops
from choice hardwoods to softwoods, and
then to agricultural residues such as
cassava stems, coconut shells and dried
pods. Collecting enough fuelwood thus
becomes more time consuming, adding to
women's work.

Fuelwood shortages
can affect incomes
In north-east Thailand, the best fuelwood is
reserved for use in connection with silk

making, which requires accurately
controlled temperatures. As select fuels
become scarce, women may lose an
important source of income. Salt making,
which requires hours of boiling, tends to
die out as fuelwood becomes increasingly

Fuelwood priorities
are culturally specific
Night fires that are lit for the buffalo under
the house- to keep off the chill and
insects- may consume two or three times
as much fuel as fires used for cooking. But
these fires are maintained even when
fuelwood is scarce

Fuelwood shortages change rituals
A traditional ritual after childbirth is
maintaining a comforting fire to warm the
mother for a number of days. However, the
length of time for which this fire is lit is
drastically reduced when fuel is scarce.

as shortages
worsen, fuel
burning devices
become more
elaborate and
more efficient

wood difficult and time consuming to cut.
Though light, it was also sticky. They
disliked its fierce burning qualities caused
by the presence of an oil in the tree which
made its wood burn hot and fast- making it
unsuitable for the long slow cooking
needed for most local dishes. And they
complained that its smoke gave food a
menthol flavour and damaged the eyes.
When the tree was planted in gardens or
fields, they claimed it damaged other
plants and poisoned the soil.
One of the common misconceptions is
that women collect fuelwood simply for
cooking. In fact, the homestead fire

provides many other benefits. Drinking
water is boiled and washing water is
warmed on the fire, while fish and meat are
smoked above it. The fire provides light at
night, and heat to dry a wet harvest. It may
also be used to cure tobacco, boil water to
extract natural medicines from leaves and
bark, and make dyes. The smoke from fires
is used to keep insects away. In some
countries, household fires are used to keep
livestock warm on chilly nights (a use
which, in some Thai hill villages, consumes
more fuelwood than cooking- see box).
Fires also have many social and ritual
uses, particularly as the focal centre for

some uses of

water heating
preserving food
light and heat
drying produce
social and ritual

evening conversations. In India, the
practice of cremation, for example,
consumes large amounts of fuelwood.
Thus the fuelwood women collect and
transport has many functions. When it
becomes short, much more than the family
meal is threatened: the basis of village life is

the long walk
fuelwood in Nepal

Trees for fodder

Women keep domestic animals in most
societies. In Nepal they are responsible
for finding fodder for the buffalo- a
massive job because each animal can
consume up to 40 tonnes of grass and
leaves a year. Elsewhere women keep
poultry, goats, pigs, rabbits and other
small stock that play an important role in
family nutrition, providing additional
protein-rich foods such as meat and milk
(and sometimes agricultural draught
labour as well). In the western highlands
of Costa Rica, women keep pigs which feed
largely on garden produce, indigenous
fruits and other tree products. Some 75
percent of women keep goats in Egypt and
Jordan, and in many of the Sahel countries
most of the goats (though rarely the cattle)
are kept by women.
In many countries, trees are not valued
primarily- as might be thought- for the
fuel they provide. A survey in the White
Nile Province of the Sudan, for example,

found that fodder was the most prized tree
product. Shade came second, fuel and
poles only third.
Trees are especially valuable as a source
of fodder because they can often provide it
when other sources are scarce- typically
at the end of a dry season or the beginning
of a wet one. Acacia albida, which is grown
in many parts of Africa in or around
cultivated fields, scores on both counts. It
produces pods late in the dry season, and
drops its leaves early in the wet one. As a
result, it does not shade crops at the
critical stage of their growth yet provides
sustenance for animals when little else is
available. In areas where fodder collection
is the responsibility of women, such trees
play a critical role. The subtle effects all
this may have on food production are only
beginning to be appreciated. Better fodder
means stronger draught animals, and
better cultivated land. Crops also benefit
from the humus provided by fallen leaves
and pods, and the nitrogen that
leguminous trees make available to the
At critical times in the agricultural year,

fodder trees are invaluable. In the semi-
arid zones of Kenya, pigeon peas (Cajanus
cajan), a woody perennial crop, provide
both fuelwood and fodder during the
critical first two weeks of planting. While
men may have the time to graze stock on
relatively distant common land, fodder
trees grown close to the homestead enable
women to raise additional livestock. In the
Himalayas, such trees are reserved for use
during times of peak labour demand such
as rice transplanting.

collecting leaves
for animal litter
(left) and cutting
fodder (above),
both in Nepal

tree products used
in the household:

building materials
1. house frames
2. roofing
3. flooring
4. walls
5. water pipes

household items
6. baskets
7. plates
8. eating
9. water
10. furniture

11. windbreaks
12. shade trees
13. fencing
14. bridges

Trees for the


Women rely on the presence of trees to
maintain many parts of their households.
While men are usually- though not
always- responsible for house
construction, it is nearly always the
woman's job to carry out minor repairs.
Trees provide nearly all that is needed:
poles for buildings and sheds, leaves for
thatch, canes and stems for wattle, and
fibres for twine.
Many of the items that women use in and
around the house- spoons, brushes, bowls,
mortars and pestles- are made from
nearby trees that may be raised specially
for that purpose. Fencing within the
homestead, vital to protect gardens if small
domestic stock are kept, is made

either from brushwood or planted as a
living fence which may also be productive
in its own right. Gathering, building and
repairing fencing around household
compounds is often women's
responsibility and is another major use of
Of the many other products provided by
trees, dyes and medicines are particularly
important. The bark of many different
trees provides a range of colours for dyeing
clothes, though often only after prolonged
boiling to extract and concentrate the
natural pigments. And in many remote
areas, medicines extracted from trees and
forest plants are still the only form of
treatment readily available. In India, for
example, the tendu tree (Diospyros
melanoxylon) has an astringent bark used
to treat diarrhoea and dyspepsia. Its dried
flowers are also claimed effective for the
treatment of several urinary, blood and
skin diseases.

Trees provide many hundreds of
medicines widely used for the treatment of
disease. In nearly all traditional societies,
medicine is practised by women. It is often
considered a domestic craft, knowledge of
which is handed down from mother to
Another household use of trees- one that
merits special mention- is shade. The
importance of shade has been trivialized
or ignored in many accounts of the roles of
trees. In fact, the shade that trees provide
round the homestead allows households to
work and live under conditions that would
otherwise prove intolerable. Trees in fields
give shade to small children while mothers
transplant or weed. Because of this, and
for aesthetic reasons, women regularly
plant trees around their houses and
compounds, and in the fields in which they

hut construction in
north Senegal-a
Peul woman makes
use of one of the
few natural
materials available
to her

Trees for income

Small-scale, forest-based enterprises,
such as the collection and processing of
raw materials into useful products, are a
major source of income for the poor, and
especially for rural women, including those
from landless families.
The forest provides many materials that
with care, skill and time can be turned into
.useful products- rattan canes for making
furniture, fibres to make nets, ropes and
mats, bamboo for basketry, gums and
resins, and leaves for making cigarette
wrappings (the harvesting oftendu leaves
for the latter in India is estimated to

employ nearly 600 000 women and
children (see box, page 22).
In India, in the early 1970s, small-scale,
forest-based enterprises provided some 25
percent of total forest production, more
than 60 percent of forest-based exports
and were responsible for about 1.6 million
of the 2.3 millionjobs in the forestry sector
as a whole. Even these statistics are
undoubtedly under-estimated because
accurate accounts are seldom kept for
small enterprises, many of which employ
women exclusively. A survey in the
Fayoum Province of Egypt, for example,
showed that 48 percent of the women there
worked in minor forest industries of one
kind or another. However, employment in

other sources of
income- from left
to right, selling
herbs, making mats,
weaving baskets
and selling

traditional crafts
and new skills-a
Nepalese woman
wood carver and a
Thai woman
learning bee-keeping

these enterprises is generally on a part
time or seasonal basis, and the wages are
low. For women with few ways of earning
money, the forest and its products are
often the best option.
Because scarcity has so raised the price
of fuelwood and charcoal, many women
now add to their incomes by selling fuel
they gather for others. In a survey of 14
villages in Himachal Pradesh, India, 70
percent of the women travelled more than
6 km a day to collect fuelwood for sale or
their own use. In Manipur, of 100 women
surveyed, two-thirds collected minor forest
products as their only source of income.
The advantages of all these activities are
that the raw material is accessible, the

work is seasonal and flexible- and can
therefore be fitted in with the agricultural
season and daily chores- and initial
investment is low. For many women,
especially those in landless families or
without access to common land, the
collection of forest products, and
fashioning them into saleable com-
mbdities, provide the only form of cash
income they have.

Sources of income for men, women and poor women

forest and
Common land crop land




poor women


WA off-farm income


studies in Uttar
Pradesh, India,
show the relative
importance of
forest and common
land to three
groups of people:
men, women and
poor women.
Nearly 50 percent
of the latter's
income comes from
forest and common
land, compared to
only about one-
eighth for men

33% 35% 32%
33% 35% 32%

f V f

complementary uses

Women and men make very different uses of
forest resources- even, in many cases, of single
species of tree. The uses made of palm trees in
Pananao, in the Central Mountains of Dominica,
illustrate the different, and sometimes
conflicting, roles played by women and men in
women watering the exploitation of an important resource.
seedlings in a
Thai nursery
In Pananao, the control of, responsibility for, and
labour involved in exploiting the palm tree vary
according to the parts of the tree being used;
men use the wood for construction, women use
the fibre in handicrafts, and both men and
women use the tree's products for animal
fodder. Furthermore, the division of control,
responsibility and labour shifts with place and
activity: near the homestead, only women are
involved and on pasture land men exercise all
three functions exclusively but for the collection
of fuelwood: the divisions are mixed on cropland,

Complementary uses of forest resources in Pananao, Sierra, Dominican Republic

men women
Responsibility O responsibility
A labour A labour i
Control 0 control

areas of activity
pasture land
processing area
crop land
forest remnants E
patio 0
adapted from Rouchleau

adapted from Rouchieau

of forest resources

where women contribute labour, and on forest
'remnants'- areas of previously over-exploited
forest- where women are given responsibility for
the trees and provide the labour but men have
control of the resource.

However, women control all processing activities
even though they do not manage the source
areas of the raw materials they need, many of
which come from the men's fields, pastures and
woodlands. As a result, cassava bread
enterprises have been curtailed by a shortage of
fuelwood, and women's handicrafts suffer from a
shortage of materials (palm fronds) when men
fell the palms for cash.

Forestry projects must therefore analyse the
roles played by men and women in the
exploitation of forest products if the interests of
all groups of users are to be met.

men sawing logs in
Guatemala as a
cash crop



animal fodder

four factors that
deprive women of
the forest
resources they

1. resource

2. changing family

3. the introduction
of new

4. development
projects that
fail to target

A deepening crisis

Events have conspired to deprive women of the relatively easy
access they have had to tree products. The problem is not simply
environmental: it also reflects the orientation of current
development programmes towards cash economies, and
widespread failures to understand the real nature of household
economies. At the same time, the introduction of new
technologies can undermine many of the small-scale forest
industries that provide women with at least some cash income.

The ways in which women traditionally use
forest resources are becoming increasingly
unviable. There are four main reasons for
this, each of which has a cumulative,
negative impact on the lifestyle of rural
1. In many areas, traditionally useful
multi-purpose tree species are
becoming increasingly scarce as deser
ification and deforestation take their
toll. Women therefore have longer to
walk to collect fuelwood and other
forest products, and this adds further
hours to their already over-long
working days.
2. As more and more men find
employment in the towns and cities,
women are forced to carry out jobs
previously done by men. This leaves
little time for the lengthy business of
collecting and processing forest
products, however important they may
be to the family economy.
3. New technologies are changing land
use, reducing the availability of minor

forest products that women have
traditionally used as a source of
additional income. These technologies
are frequently introduced without
providing women with other income-
earning alternatives.
4. Development projects often improve
conditions for the men, leaving women
with as much, or even more, to do than

These four factors need to be considered
by planners if they are to help restore the
balance between women's needs and the
forest and tree resources available to them.
Each includes issues related to both
poverty and gender.

The effects of

resource depletion
Conventional statistics on the rate of
deforestation, or the speed at which
desertification is proceeding, mean little to
most rural women. The reality of their
daily life is the long walk required to fetch
fuel and water. As scrubland becomes
depleted and the environment deteriorates,
and as increasing numbers of people
compete for diminishing resources, women
find it more and more difficult to collect
enough fuelwood in the time available to
They are then faced with several
alternatives. The first is to use inferior
wood for cooking. Softwoods may be
substituted for hardwoods, and smaller
and less convenient sizes for those
normally used. This makes cooking more
difficult and more time-consuming. It may
also bring about changes in cooking
methods, and subsequent changes in the

nutritional values of the foods eaten.
The second, and increasingly common,
solution is to cook less often. Where once
the family could expect two or even three
hot meals a day, this is first reduced to one
a day and then- as in some parts of west
Africa and many areas of the Andes- to
once every other day. By this time, family
levels of nutrition have usually fallen
substantially because many of the staple
foods consumed in rural households
cannot be easily digested without
prolonged cooking. Traditional diets have
to be changed, and more and more raw
foods introduced into the menu. In the
peanut basin of Senegal, women are having
to serve water mixed with raw millet flour in
place of the cooked grain. In Guatemala,
many families can no longer find enough
fuel for the lengthy cooking required for
their traditional staple of beans.
In the short term, raw food and unboiled
water lead frequently to higher levels of
disease. In the long term, cooking methods
or food substitutions become adapted to

the last leaf- a
Nepalese woman
collects fodder from
an almost bare tree

Sierra Leone: one woman's day

21.00 to 23.00
converse round fire while
shelling seeds and
making fish nets

20.00to 21.00
clean dishes, clean

18.00 to 20.00
process and prepare food,
cook dinner

fish in local pond

15.00 to 17.00
work in the gardens

14.00to 15.00
wash clothes, carry water,
clean and smoke fish

12.00to 14.00
process and prepare food, cook
lunch, wash dishes

- 4.00to 5.30 a.m.
fish in local pond

- 5.30 to 6.00
carry water and firewooc

S6.00 to 8.00
light fire, heat washing
water, cook breakfast,
clean dishes, sweep

. 8.00to 11,00
work in rice fields with
baby on back and with
a four-year old son

11.00 to 12.00
collect berries,
leaves and bark;
carry water

the fuels available. Some examples of
these adaptive strategies include the
fermenting of beans before cooking to save
on cooking time, and substituting less
nutritious but quickly cooked foods for
more nutritious ones that take longer to
cook. The effects of these substitutions on
nutrition are only beginning to be
Factors such as length of cooking time
have often been ignored in otherwise sound
development plans- such as one in
Burkino Faso which introduced soy beans
into the diet. Many women refused to
accept them, however, because they took
longer to cook than the traditional cow
peas. Throughout the Sahel, rice is
increasingly favoured over millet because it
is easier to prepare and quicker to cook.
But the substitution of imported foods for
traditional local crops has played havoc
with many African economies and with
household food security.
A third solution is to supplement
fuelwood supplies with agricultural

residues such as cassava stalks and dung.
Where fuelwood is in very short supply,
these materials become the main fuels of
the household. Cooking with them is
usually more difficult than with wood, and
always requires a far greater bulk of
material to be collected, moved and then
burnt. Some 800 million people now rely
on residues for at least some of their
energy needs, and the implications for soil
fertility and erosion are serious.
Agricultural wastes are an important
form of fertilizer, providing the soil with
both humus and inorganic nutrients. If
they are burnt in the household, the soil is
normally deprived of their fertilizing effect,
and becomes impoverished. Lack of humus
leads to instability, and wind and water
erosion are increased. Lack of fertility
means that farmers must cultivate even
larger areas of land to provide the
quantities of produce their families require.
Severe fuelwood shortages often force
women to purchase some of their fuel,
usually from trade suppliers. By this time

Diagram on the left shows how much activity
is crammed into the daily life of a woman
living in a small village in Sierra Leone- and
in a part of the country where shortages are
not as severe as elsewhere in Africa. Nearly
all the activities described were carried out
while the woman tended her small children.
Women in the village had several specific
complaints about their lifestyles:

* trees and bushes they needed were
becoming difficult to find because of land

* types of fuelwood needed for cooking
special dishes were becoming scarce;

* fish were becoming more difficult to catch
because the local pond was silting up;

* the quality of stream water was

* too many rodents in the fields and gardens,
probably because predators from the forest
were disappearing;

* garden soils becoming 'weak' due to
overuse, and increasing areas of land
needed to feed one family;

* lack of time because fishing, gardening and
collecting were taking more time; and

* lack of money because of lack of time to
earn even small amounts.

women have in effect lost control of their
fuel supply because they have no access to
the carts, animals and lorries necessary to
turn fuelwood collection from a
subsistence activity into a business.
Furthermore, they have an added living
expense- one that has provoked the West
African saying that "it costs as much to
cook the rice as it does to fill the bowl".
Resource depletion affects more than
fuelwood collection. In the Niger, a whole
new market has opened up for the
purchase of items that women used to
collect for nothing in the nearby forest. In
Nepal, where women traditionally gather
fodder for their livestock, shortage of trees
has made the job almost impossible.
When domestic animals have to be given
up for lack of fodder, as they have in parts
of both Burkina Faso and Mali, another
item of food disappears from the
subsistence economy, and another source
of income disappears from the range of
possibilities available to rural women.
Because the impact of forest depletion is

felt so severely by women, they are usually
anxious to participate in any decisions
that are made about what new tree species
are to be planted, and where. Women can
thus provide an important input to

making dung cakes
for fuel in India;
some 800 million
people rely heavily
on agricultural
residues for their
energy needs

7 # "" .."
.:" ..2 "4 ': ,?. "

'" ... .' .7 . .,

Changes in

family structure

One reason why rural women work harder
than ever before is that they have
increased responsibilities. More and more
women are now either legally, or in
practice, the heads of their households.
There are many reasons for this.
Sometimes it is a question of choice, since
marriage can confine women to the
subsistence economy and provides men
with almost total control of cash income.
Sometimes it is the result of desertion,
divorce or abandonment. But the most
common reason is migration. Men are
away from home more frequently and for
longer periods than they used to be. They
go to seek work in the cities, in the mines,
on the plantations, and in other countries
where the rewards may be, or may appear
to be, greater. As a result, at least one-third
of all households are now formally headed
by women. In one study of 73 countries, the
country with the smallest proportion of
female-headed households was Kuwait,
with 10 percent. The highest was Panama,

with 40 percent. A different study in Kenya,
however, showed that 60 percent of rural
households were either headed or managed
by women. Overall, the proportion of
households where a woman is in practice,
if not in law, a household head is far higher
than even one-third. In all these
households, women have to take on jobs
that were formerly performed by men. But
other changes are occurring as well.
Traditionally, work roles are similar in
many societies. Men clear land, turn the
soil, hunt and fish, and do some of the
planting. Women do the rest- and the rest
involves much more than looking after the
family. In most societies, women also
plant, weed, harvest, carry the crops,
fuelwood and fodder home, store them and
market the excess. But this division of
labour is changing. As cash economies
replace subsistence ones, men have less
and less to do with food production. World-
wide, women now produce more than 50
percent of all the food that is grown; in
Africa, they produce about 80 percent. In
some areas, large portions of this food
come from trees.
A recent survey in Swaziland found that
59 percent of the ploughing was now being

where women are
heads of the
household- as here
in the Andes-they
must take on the
men's jobs as well
as their own

i _~_~_~ _~


5' C~j~Di~[CSn

Ir~r *-~b~c ~

How the work is divided
(Africa, percentage of total labour in hours)






planting 50
weeding 30
harvesting 40







transporting 20

storing 20

processing l10

marketing 40
carrying 10
water, fuel IF 10
domestic 50
stock i 15
feeding F 5
family Li

done by women. In some places, the
woman's workload has increased so much
that she cannot cope without more help
from her daughters. The two obvious
responses are to increase family size so
that more labour becomes available, or to
take daughters away from school.
One of the major problems with the
changing division of labour is that women
gain new responsibilities but not the rights
that should go with them. Many men now
spend so long earning money away from
the farm that they are sometimes absent
for years on end. Legally, however, they are
still the heads of household. The wife has
neither title to the land, nor ownership of
the cattle she tends. She can use neither
as collateral for loans to buy the seed or
fertilizer she needs. Frequently, she
cannot change land use nor adopt new
agroforestry practices without permission
from her absent husband. There is
therefore a need for institutional support
for women in their new roles as household
heads and managers.

traditionally, men
clear the land, turn
the soil, hunt and
fish-and women
do the rest. But
even that is now


The beedi industry: exploitation of the poor

The beedi is a small, cheap
cigarette made from tendu
leaves wrapped round a
small amount of tobacco,
sewn up with thread and
baked. In India alone, some
2.5 million people were
involved in beedi making in
the mid-1970s- and there
are probably more now.
About 90 percent of beedi
producers are landless
women, mostly working
from home, and mostly
working long hours-
typically, seven hours a day
for 285 days a year. Beedi
production is one of the few
sources of income for these
women since it requires
only their labour.
In spite of the income
earned from beedi making,
most beedi producers live in
extreme poverty; regulations

passed to improve working
conditions have proved
impossible to enforce.
The beedi industry
encompasses not only
those who make the
cigarettes but also those
who collect the leaves. More
than 350 000 tonnes of
leaves are harvested
annually by some 600 000
women and children. Many
women illegally harvest
tendu leaves which are sold
to traders who commission
the beedi making and make
large profits.
Attempts by the forestry
service in Bihar to cut out
the middlemen led to blood-
shed: riots ensued, forestry
offices were burned to the
ground and people killed.
Tendu harvesting and
beedi making are two

examples of forest-based,
small-scale enterprises
that benefit millions of
Asian women. Improving
conditions for these women
will, however, be difficult
because of the informal
nature of the business. The
beedi industry provides an
opportunity to develop
forest policies that benefit
poor rural women by
providing better access to
raw materials and markets.

The effects of

new technologies

Rural women are one of the last groups in
society to benefit from modernization and
the introduction of new technology. These
are usually targeted at a cash economy
rather than the household economy. New
agricultural technologies often make life
even harder for women. When a male head
of household is given credit to buy a
cultivator, or a share in a tractor, he soon
begins to cultivate more land. His wife and
daughters must then weed a larger area in
the same time. When new, fast-growing
"improved" tree species are introduced,
they usually provide a cash crop, often at
the expense of the multipurpose species
that are used by women for food and fodder
production, and to provide a source of
Modernization can also be a mixed
blessing for women in the forest itself. In
timber-rich Borneo, men and women have
traditionally worked at wood-cutting as
family teams. When heavy chain saws were
introduced to improve productivity, women
were effectively excluded from an activity
that had valuable social functions as well
as fiscal ones.
There is a need to consider the effects
that the introduction of a technology may
have on poverty itself, and on the
respective roles and incomes of both men
and women. New technologies, focused
specifically on women's needs, are
urgently needed. For example, shea butter

is the major cooking oil used in many semi-
arid areas ofAfrica. It is processed from
the nut of the tree Butyrospermumparkii
by women who sell the surplus. The
process, however, requires heating and
prolonged whipping. Women have often
requested labour- and energy-saving
technologies for the job but these have yet
to be developed.

Losing out on


In many rural areas, men are the winners
in development projects and women the
losers. Development experts who plan
schemes to improve the lifestyles or
increase the incomes of village
communities have in the past rarely
analysed the gender issues involved. Yet
such issues are fundamental to integrated
rural development.
When land resources are scarce, plans to
maximize production in one area may
reduce production in others. Because the

t:, W_ ,:I *

things that women produce- and
particularly those that they produce from
forest resources- are rarely counted in
official statistics, they get ignored. Cash
crops are often the foci of forestry
development. When more land is devoted
to timber or pulp, it has to come from
somewhere. Usually, it comes from areas
of so-called 'useless' scrub. Far from being
useless, it is these areas on which rural
women depend for supplies of additional
food such as fruit and nuts, for medicines,
for fodder, and for raw materials for the
The ways in which women are affected by
unintended side-effects of development
projects are often subtle. In the Niger, for
example, a highly 'successful' wind break
project succeeded in raising crops between
the rows of newly planted trees. But
women's incomes actually fell as a result of
the project. Only later was it realized that
women used to keep small ruminants in
the areas involved and had given up doing
so after they had been fined for allowing
their animals to stray into the newly
planted areas.
Woodlot projects can also be a mixed
blessing for rural women. Their need is for
multi-purpose trees close to the
homestead. Development experts often
plan woodlots on the basis of a single
species with either good fuelwood or
timber characteristics. Men grow and
guard the trees, and often sell some of the
produce for their own benefit, in effect
displacing the women who previously
gathered and possibly sold many different
forest products from the same area.

New technologies, and the development
projects that lie behind them, often
improve conditions for the men but leave
women with as much- or even more- to do
than before.
While the crisis of women and forest
resources worsens, some encouragement
can be taken from the fact that more is now
beginning to be done about it, as the
remainder of this publication makes clear.
Two major themes are apparent. In the
first, women themselves, either individually
or with help from other women and men,
have taken up the fight to protect their
rights and their resources (pages
24-27). Planners, too, have become more
aware of the importance of gender issues in
project development and, conversely, of the
contribution that women, with their special
knowledge of forest resources, can make
(pages 28-31).

when women
cannot graze their
stock on land that
is being reforested,
they must cut and
carry all the fodder
their buffaloes


a global round-up

India: the Chipko

Chipko is a Hindi word meaning "to hug".
The Chipko movement was named after its
members who hugged trees to prevent
them being felled by foresters. Although
the first Chipko workers were men and
women, at odds with officialforestry
policies and mainly concerned with local
employment, more and more womenjoined
the movement when they realized that the
recurring floods and landslides from which
they were suffering were caused by
deforestation. When the Forest
SDepartment announced an auction of2500
trees in the Reni Forest overlooking the
Alaknanda River, which had already
flooded disastrously, one woman- Gaura
SDevi- organized the women of her village to
protect the treesfrom the company that
won the auction. Theyphysically
prevented the treefelling, and thusforced
the Uttar Pradesh government to
investigate. Two years later, the
government placed a 10-year ban on all
tree felling in the area. After that, women
prevented felling in many otherforests all
along the Himalayas. They have also set
up cooperatives to guard localforests, and
to organizefodder production at rates that
will not harm the trees. Within the Chipko
movement, women have joined in land
rotation schemes forfodder collection,
helped replant degraded land, and
established and run nurseries stocked
with species they select.


Cape Verde:
after the drought

Drought has destroyed much of the
vegetation in Cape Verde. Because most of
the men work away from the islands,
replanting has been left to women and
sak children. With their help, much of the
hillsides have been terraced and replanted,
and many low-lying sandy areas planted
out with shrubs. By the end of the 1970s,
women were growing halfa million
seedlings a year.

All over the world, women have reacted- either spontaneously or through local
organizations- to protect forest resources from destruction and to ensure that future
supplies will be adequate. In many places, their initiatives have led to the acceptance
of new ideas by previously uninterested men.

Honduras: women
take the lead A

After the arrival of Hurricane Fifi in 1974, lip
the government called on farmers to
replant the destroyed areas. They were
surprised but did not object when groups
of women showed up to work. The
techniques to be used were new to the area,
introducing the idea of terracing and
reforestation or replanting rather than the
traditional shifting agriculture. The men,
busy enough growing crops on the valley
land, were distrustful of these new ideas
but agreed to provide plots of land for the
women. Not only did the women succeed in
constructing terraces but they also grew,
harvested and marketed a series of
successful vegetable crops. Eventually, the
men began to join in as well. In one area,
afterfour years work, 78 villages had joined
the scheme and 1834farmers worked on it. ,'
Of these, 590 were women.

China: forestry for

Between 1949 and 1978, China's forested .
area was expanded from 5 to 12.7 percent
of total land area. Most of the work was. :
done by rural communes, and much of it by
women. In 1954, for example, women
planted a shelter belt along the entire
coastline of Kwangtung Province. In this
area, menfish and women raise the crops.
Women commune members led others in
forming tree-planting groups in order to
protect theirfields from the sand that was
regularly blown in from the coast. In
China,forestry is well integrated with
other economic activities, and most rural
Chinese, particularly women, regard tree
growing as important as growing other
forms of crops.






A project in the Sudan has successfully
involved women in forestry work. Village
men requesting a windbreak project
planned a nursery and otherforestry
activities. The men were then asked to
identify women leaders who, working with
trained local women extension workers,
established nurseries within their
compounds and planted trees around their
homes. Some groups have even planted
and managed woodlots near their villages.

Seedlings being sorted at forest nursery
in the Mai Sa area as part ofa project
aimed at introducing settled agroforestry
systems to shifting agriculturalists.
Women have welcomed agroforestry
schemes in many countries as a result of
their responsibilities for growing
subsistence crops.

In the Republic of Korea, women saw trees
as a source of income to finance Mothers'
Clubs. To do so, they raised and sold
thousands of seedlings, playing a key role
in the successful Korean programme to re-
green the countryside; use ofalternative
fuels also led to substantial reductions in
the amounts of wood used in cooking.


Kenyan women, through the National
Council of Women in Kenya, and the
Greenbelt Movement, have played a major
role in many forestry schemes in Kenya
involving greenbelts, nurseries, the
planting of memorial trees, and growing
and distributing seedlings for other
women's groups to plant.

Inappropriate land use has caused severe
soil erosion in Jamaica, and efforts are
being made to establish improved forestry
and watershed protection schemes. Here
women are working in nurseries packing
trays with Caribbean pine seedlings. As in
other countries, women here have helped
persuade men of the virtues of
reforestation schemes.

Women transplant seedlings in a nursery
in the Upper Solo valley where
reforestation programmes aim to provide
local populations with new supplies offuel,
timber,fruit and nuts. Population pressure
has deprived families of the forest
products on which they formerly depended.
Many women have begun home gardens
which are said to provide as much as 60
percent of thefood and fuel they need.




trees to
the soil

for tree


how women and
planners might
react in the future:
women communi-
cate their needs
and knowledge to
planners (1);
projects are
developed with the
benefit of
participation from
women (2);
women's needs can
then be
targeted (3)

Implications for development

The time has come to help restore the precarious balance between
women and forest resources. While this can often be done by
simple changes to development projects, it also requires
high-level policy support. It is increasingly obvious that the
participation of women in forestry projects is crucial to their
success. Foresters and planners must consider women as well as
men in their plans for forestry development.

The role of women

in forestry projects

Women have important roles to play in all
phases of a forestry project, either as a
separate group or as part of the
community. Their inputs are necessary
from the stage of problem identification
right through to implementation and
evaluation. More than 20 years ago, for
example, when the taungya system of
planting crops between rows of saplings
was being encouraged in Ghana, foresters
soon recognized that the role of women
was critical, for it was they who tradition-
ally grew garden crops. Foresters in Ghana
now have a long history of successful
collaboration with women.
Projects specifically for women, as well
as joint male-female projects, are
justifiable, depending on the circum-
stances. If an activity is traditionally
carried out by men, but is taken over and
improved by women as part of a project, tht
women often lose their new role to the men
when the project ends. Special care is
therefore needed to ensure that women
who help plan and execute projects play
sustained roles in implementation and
receive due benefits from them. One of the
most important ways of doing this is to
design projects that provide benefits for
both men and women. This is an important
reason for avoiding projects in which only
women can benefit. Such projects, after all,

may be just as invidious as those that are
planned by men for men, and which deny
women any control of the project or benefit
from it.
There are, however, some circumstances
in which projects designed specifically and
exclusively to benefit women appear
when there are strong taboos against
unrelated males and females working
where the effects of past
discrimination need to be overcome;
where many or most households are
headed by women;
where women specialize in tasks that
could be made more productive with
outside help; and
where women request a measure of
self-reliance to avoid conflict or
competition with men (Ruth Dixon).
One of the encouraging factors for those
who plan forestry projects with identified
benefits for women is that women
generally have the most to gain. The
potential advantages are therefore high.
The advantages of including both men
and women in projects became clear in the
Cameroon, for example, when men
destroyed fences erected round village
woodlots; the women, who needed the
wood, later helped repair the fences and
convinced the men to accept the project.
In Guinea, women have requested projects
in which men and women plant trees
together. The women felt that if only
women were involved men would resent the
planting if meals were delayed or women

Eight steps to restoring the balance

in developing community forestry, policy makers should:

1 EXPLORE gender issues
through two-way

2 INVESTIGATE the customs,
taboos and
time constraints

3 PROMOTE the role that
women do and can play
in forestry activities

were pre-occupied with the project.
The segregation of activities by gender
does not have to restrict women to subsis-
tence level projects. In the Philippines,
women are successfully participating in
schemes to grow trees as cash crops. In
the Republic of Korea and Senegal, women
have banded together to grow seedlings for
Planners are just beginning to appreciate
the contribution that women can make to
forestry development. Women possess a
unique indigenous knowledge about the
tree species they utilize that can be
usefully incorporated into future forest
management strategies. For example,
local women who accompanied foresters
and extension agents on a field trip in
Kenya were able to identify more than 20
species of woody shrubs and plants that
were unfamiliar to the rest of the party.
Sharing this knowledge with foresters
creates the potential for better resource
Although women can, and should, play a
strong role in forest development, this is
not always easy; there are still constraints
to their full participation.

with rural women, recognizing that the
needs of men and of women may not be
the same, and that the impact of
projects on them may therefore be

that women face, realizing that
knowledge and common sense can go a
long way to overcoming these

at each level, and analyse the ways in
which projects either include or exclude

Constraints to

The factors that militate against women
participating fully in forestry projects can
be succinctly summarized: women are
short of land, time and money; they are
often poorly organized, have restricted
access to political power, and a limited
ability to influence decision makers; they
are more often illiterate than men and have
no collateral to offer for credit; and they are
restricted in the jobs they are allowed to do
and the distances they are allowed to
In a land-hungry world, some of the
factors that prevent women from
participating in projects are similar to
those that exclude men. One of the key
issues is land tenure. Because trees grow
slowly, few farmers are prepared to plant
trees unless they are sure they will enjoy
the benefits. They need secure tenure to
land and trees. If this is often a problem for
men, it is nearly always so for women.
Furthermore, legislation to secure tenure
often make things worse for women. A
prevalent, but mistaken, attitude has been
that if you give to the men, you give to the
women. Examples of this attitude have
been documented in the Gambia and Kenya
where women who held traditional
ownership of land lost it when project
adjudicators legally allocated land to male
heads of households or to male relatives of
female heads of household. Women were


eight steps...

4 EXCHANGE information
with individuals
at every level

5 SUPPORT women's groups
and encourage the
formation of new ones

6 WORK together to
provide access to
land and trees

left with the traditional responsibilities but
no legal rights to the land they farmed.
Women without legal rights to land have no
collateral to offer for loans to buy
equipment, seeds or fertilizer- all of which
they need.
Land tenure is, in fact, only one aspect of
a general problem of women's rights that
can have major effects on the execution of
forestry projects. People who have no land
have nowhere to plant trees. But more
than that, women who have no rights to use
certain trees- as is common in many
societies- have no incentive to plant them.
And women who are forbidden by custom
to plant trees have little chance to
participate in forestry projects, even those
that could provide them with substantial
If women are to participate in tree-
planting projects, they must also have the
time. They rarely do. In fact, the more
women might benefit from such a project,
the less they are likely to have the time to
do so. For example, collection of fodder
has become immensely time consuming for
women in Nepalese hill villages but it has
sometimes proved hard to persuade them
to plant fodder trees. The main reason
turns out to be that the women are often
too busy collecting fodder to spare the
time. A survey showed that on average
women in these villages work 10.81 hours a
day, compared to the 7.51 hours worked by
their husbands.
Lack of mobility is another drawback to
participation. In many societies, women
do not enjoy the same freedom to travel as

with local women on forestry
activities, with practitioners on
involving women in forestry, with
policy makers on women's roles in

that help women gain access to
decision making and the political
process, and strengthen women's
support for one another

recognizing customary and traditional
women's holdings, ensuring women
are included where land is privatized,
and seeking creative solutions for
landless women

men, or are not allowed to work away from
home. Often women are anxious to lift
these restrictions which now appear to
them out-moded, however socially useful
they may once have been. Experience also
shows that traditions of this kind often
reflect idealized behaviour rather than
what people really do. Poorer women, in
any case, have learned to put survival
above theoretical restrictions about the
roles they should play in society.
In some cases, simple common sense
can resolve the issue. In Kenya, women
refused to partake in a honey-producing
project because the hives were in trees, and
tree climbing was taboo for women.
Lowering the hives solved the problem. In
the Sudan, the constraint of mobility was
overcome by moving nurseries into the
women's compounds. A solution to
problems of communication between male
project staff and women's groups can be
resolved by ensuring that women staff are
hired for the project. While not all
constraints to women's participation are
as easily resolved, policy measures can go
a long way to help.

credit and income
available to women

8 CONSULT with women
before introducing new
technologies or species

Evolving future

Sensible policies can overcome some
constraints. The first requirement is that
women must be specifically (though rarely
exclusively) targeted when projects are
being formulated. The fundamental need is
to evaluate a project's potential impact on,
and expected benefits to, both men and
women separately. Gender issues need
careful analysis if unintended effects on
either sex are to be avoided.
Preliminary research may be needed to
establish exactly how a project is likely to
affect women. Such things are not always
obvious. A common mistake in the past,
for example, has been to introduce new
crops or products that require heat
processing or excessive drying. These
innovations may well increase men's
incomes but only at the expense of making
much arduous work for the women who
have to collect the extra fuelwood.
Enquiries need to be made into the
needs, interests, talents and desire for
participation of the women in
communities to be affected by forestry
projects. In effect, this means involving
women in project design as well as project
execution. Doing so can automatically
eliminate some of the less desirable
practices of the past in which, for example,
projects have specifically planned to
employ large numbers of women in

either individually, or through
women's groups

ensuring that women's needs have been
considered, and the impact of new
techniques or trees on women's lives
have been evaluated

nurseries- but only because they could be
paid less than were the men.
Another fundamental issue that will
require further analysis in the future
concerns the role of women in the cash
economy. Because women have
traditionally operated in the subsistence
sector, it is tempting to design projects to
assist them only in their traditional roles.
In fact, women urgently need to be brought
more fully into the cash economy, and to be
provided with credit and security of land
tenure on an equal basis with men.
If means can be found to enable women
to participate, if sufficient numbers of
sensitive professionals can be found to
make the initial contacts and carry out
preliminary research, and if gender issues
are specifically identified early on in
project planning, future forestry projects
could break much new ground.
In the process, both rural women and
professional foresters could gain a great
deal. Enabling women to benefit more fully
from forest resources is likely to prove one
of the most rewarding and environmentally
benign ways of fighting rural poverty.


The ideas expressed in this publication rely heavily on the writings
and research of Robert Chambers, Carol Colfer, Ruth Dixon, Louise
Fortmann, Marilyn Hoskins, Shobita Jain, Richard Longhurst,
Augusta Molnar, John Raintree, Dianne Rouchleau and Mercedes
Wiff, to whom acknowledgement is gratefully made. None of these
authors, however, is responsible for the use that has been made of
their work here. D'Arcy Davis Case also provided editorial wisdom,
inspiration and photographs.
The literature on women and forest products is widely scattered.
The references that follow are not of source material but of more
general publications that treat the subject in a broad context.


Carr, Marilyn. Appropriate technologyfor
women; two essays. London, Intermediate
Technology Development Group, 1982.
ESCAP. Report of the expert group meeting
on women and forest industries. Bangkok,
ESCAP, 1980.
FAO. Follow-up to WCARRD: the role of
women in agricultural production. Rome,
FAO Committee on Agriculture, 1982.
FAO. Forests, trees and people. Rome,
FAO, 1985, Forestry Topics No. 2.
FAO. Tree growing by rural people. Rome,
FAO, 1985, FAO Forestry Paper No 64.
FAO. Woodfor energy. Rome, FAO, 1983,
Forestry Topics No. 1.
Hoskins, Marilyn. Household level
appropriate technologies for women.
Washington DC, US Agency for
International Development, Office of
Women in Development, 1981.
Hoskins, Marilyn. Rural women, forest
outputs and forestry projects. Rome, FAO,

Hoskins, Marilyn. Women inforestry for
local community development.
Washington DC, US Agency for
International Development, Office of
Women in Development, 1979.
Rouchleau, Dianne E. "The User
Perspective and the Agroforestry Research
and Action Agenda", in Golz, Henry, (ed.),
Agroforestry. Dordrecht, the Netherlands,
Martinus Nijhoff/Dr W. Junk Publishers,

Scott, G. Forestry projects and women.
Washington DC, World Bank, 1980.
Tinker, Irene. Women, energy and
development. Washington DC, Equity
Policy Center, 1982.
"Women in forestry". In Unasylva, vol. 36,
no. 146, 1984/4, FAO, Rome.
Wood, D. H., et aL The socio-economic
context of firewood use in small rural
communities. Washington DC, US Agency
for International Development, 1980.


Text and page make-up: Robin Clarke
Design and artwork: Diagram Visual
Information Ltd
Produced by FAO Forestry Department,
with assistance from the Swedish
International Development Authority
This publication is available in English,
French and Spanish


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