High quality carbon offset projects contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals as well as mitigating climate change. For International Women’s Day we’re featuring the benefits for women in Plan Vivo forestry projects.
In the Scolel’te project in Mexico gender inequality is being tackled on two fronts:
- Low levels of participation in community decision-making are being addressed through an ongoing training programme on participation, welfare, gender awareness and the conservation of forest resources. The training is delivered to inclusive groups of men, women, youth and elders, and outcomes are monitored and evaluated.
- To reduce economic inequality women are being brought into groups working for example with seed collection, management of tree nurseries, bee-keeping and mushroom production.
According to the FAO the percentage of women holding title for agricultural land in Mexico is very low (16% in 2007). So you might wonder why the Scolel’te project isn’t focusing specifically on land rights in its gender strategy.
Gender equality is one of three guiding principles of national policy within Mexico’s National Development Plan (2013- 2018) and joint titling of land – for women and men – is being actively promoted. Yet research has found that joint titling does not in itself lead to empowerment of women.
And this is the experience of the Scolel’te project. In Chiapas the government has implemented several programs to increase the percentage of women with formal land rights, but while traditional power relationships within the communities remain, such actions can be ineffective. So the Scolel‘te project has adopted a complementary approach, working on awareness-raising and social learning, to try to shift traditional gender roles.
The approaches adopted by the Scolel’te project are those recommended by researchers for closing the gender gap in rural areas:
- Develop participatory governance, and monitor the results
- Enterprise development involving women.
Next week, tackling women’s rights in the Communitree project in Nicaragua.