Gender in forestry research in Indonesia: dealing with diversity and complexities

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FTA communications

In the last few decades, there have been growing concerns over discrimination against women, leading to the increasing number of international agreements, funding and national legislation frameworks aimed to promote gender equity. In Indonesia, an umbrella policy was declared in 2000 through Presidential Instruction no. 9/2000 on Gender Mainstreaming. However progress and achievement are often not as expected; key government officials still show resistance on gender issues; meanwhile researchers, field facilitators and extension workers often lack conceptual knowledge and technical skills. Our research projects in Jambi, West Kalimantan, and Southeast and South Sulawesi provinces in Indonesia are aimed to promote sustainable and equitable forest management among gender and stakeholder groups across levels. Each site has different social and cultural characteristics, e.g. distribution of roles and responsibilities between men and women, knowledge on natural resources, cultural perspectives towards women, tenure and access to resources, etc.

This paper shares our experience, including constraints and lessons learned throughout the projects, and the process of methods development to respond to cultural diversity and differences across sites. Some important lessons include the usefulness of (1) changing from a problem-based approach to an asset- based one and (2) identifying the right entry points, with women’s initial activities in facilitation of critical importance in avoiding men’s resistance.

CIFOR Scientist Elizabeth Linda Yuliana alongside Carol Colfer and Hasantoha Adnan presented on 8 June at the panel discussion “Methods and approaches for analysing gender differences in rights of access to the usage, and management, of forests and tree products” at the 2013 IASC conference held on Mount Fuji in Japan.

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