Women, especially poor women of colour, suffer most from the climate crisis. Unsustainable logging and plantation development also reduces women’s ability to fulfil traditional roles such as collecting food, medicine, and other essential products. Indigenous and rural women make up more than half of the 2.5 billion people who depend on customary land. Despite this, they continue to be marginalised and excluded from decisions linked to forest and land management. 

But now a growing number of women are standing up and fighting to protect their rights, and to ensure that climate discussions consider the elderly European women dying in heatwaves, and hear from the African women fighting for their land rights. Women and girls are out on the streets at the vanguard of the climate fight, but at the top table, it’s often men deciding the earth’s future. 

That’s why, in our work to open space for those affected by forest policies to be heard, we give particular emphasis to those women working to protect and restore forests worldwide.   

But our hope is to go further. 

Our gender statement explains that while we are initially focussing on promoting women’s rights, we aspire to support the specific needs of all people who face discrimination. On this page we curate our material focussing on gender justice in the hope that it will help raise awareness of the issues faced by women each day and the policy solutions that could help. 

Publications

This land is ours 

The article follows Loretta Althea Pope Kai, the Programme Director of the NGO Foundation for Community Initiatives (FCI), who educates Liberian women on their land rights. “Although women are the primary users of forests, it is men who have always made the decisions about them.” Women can’t own or make decisions about the very land they stand on.  

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Forest loss affects women and children disproportionately 

This blog from Marie-Ange Kalenga outlines why forest loss in the Congo Basin affects women and children disproportionally, and how EU donors and governments can improve community and Indigenous women’s lives while protecting and restoring forests. 

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Integrating women’s rights into forest protection is non-negotiable  

Interview with Board member Korto Reeves Williams, who is renowned for her work advancing women’s rights and tackling gender inequality. She is currently the Global Head of Women’s Rights at ActionAid International, where she has worked since 2007. She is part of the African Feminist Forum, and a co-founder of the Liberian Feminist Forum. 

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Speaking truth to power: the village women taking on the palm oil giant 

In Cameroon’s Littoral region, women’s main social role is farming, and their identity is inextricably connected to the land. The constant expansion of agro-industries such as Socapalm, and their proximity to the farmers’ land is challenging women’s role and stopping them from farming the land. The companies are directly undermining people’s culture and traditions, threatening women's identity and impeding access to ancestral land. 

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Cameroonian women are the first victims of palm oil plantations 

On International Women’s Day 2018, NGO Foder brought international attention to the detrimental impact that unregulated industrial plantations have on local communities. These communities are often robbed of their land, with all of its cultural, socioeconomic and political value. This briefing explains why women are particularly affected when rights are violated, explaining the vital role they play in the management of the household.  

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How civil society is protecting forests and indigenous people’s rights in Congo 

Interview with Nina Cynthia Kiyindou, lawyer and head of Natural Resources and Forest Community Rights at Fern’s partner, Observatoire Congolais des Droits de l'Homme (OCDH). Nina focuses particularly on forest communities and women, discussing the main problems the groups currently face. 

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Community forestry: opportunity or mirage for women in the Congo Basin?  

In the Congo Basin, women play an important role in forest management by practicing traditional agroforestry and collecting fuelwood and non-timber forest products for food, livestock, and health care or income generation. They must also be recognised as key players in community forest initiatives, and encouraged to contribute. 

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Video

Women and Voluntary Partnership Agreements in Liberia 

Julie Weah from the Foundation for Community Initiative talks about the role of women in the community, why it is so important to ensure that they have a voice, and how we can help to achieve that. 

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