Gender and the environment: traps and opportunities

A growing debate about gender and the environment highlights women's roles in the use and management of natural resources, opening up important opportunities for development analysis and action. But there are traps in conceiving of women's roles in relation to the environment in a partial, narrow or static way; of isolating them from men's roles; and of assuming a close link between women and `nature'. An alternative approach examines dynamic gender-differentiated activities, rights and responsibilities in the processes of natural resource management. A case study from the Gola forest, Sierra Leone shows how this can assist aspects of both sustainability and equity in the design of projects concerned with the environment.