Women and Conservation

In nations such as India, women are known to be the main conservers of biodiversity, reports Sudesca.  Women’s traditional roles of obtaining water, food, and fuel for their communities place them close to the land.

Nepali womanIn a nutshell, men’s tendency to improve their economic well being by destroying the forest and land makes life harder for women fulfilling their traditional role.  As natural sources become depleted, women will use resources such as cow manure for kitchen fuel rather than putting it into the fields.  As Sudesca explains, this weakens the soil and makes women’s lives even harder.

This is one reason development needs to include women, who are often the most conscious of environmental issues.  Women tend to recognize that environmental degradation is closely related to human actions and the social sphere.

India is striving to create a mutually beneficial relationship between women, their communities and natural resources, that allows conservation to become a primary goal.  Sudesca reports that in communities that rely heavily on farms, the women can be trained in on-farm conservation techniques including biodiversity inventories.  In order to complete their work, women must become an essential part of the fight against environmental degradation.

Woman harvesting tea leavesWomen, whose traditional seed selection and farming duties include maintaining a diverse selection of food crops, have begun to take on a vital role in conserving the environment and working towards sustainability.  The female population is quickly entering the public sphere with a stronger voice, and taking up careers in the sciences.  Among others, India’s Department of Biotechnology began creating programmes in 1998 that further arm women in the battle against environmental degradation.

The Sudesca article is a fascinating article – if you have any interest in sustainability, conservation, developing countries, or women’s issues, you will probably enjoy reading the Role Of Women In Conservation Of Environment.

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