Women’s rights essential to reduce poverty in rural Asia
A report published by the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) shows the full extent of the damage caused to entire societies and to the environment, when women are marginalized and disempowered.
In particular, the report focuses on women in rural parts of Asia.
It argues that the lack of progress on women’s rights in many parts of the region is leading communities deeper into poverty, and exacerbating the harmful effects of climate change.
RRI summarizes the research as showing that: “despite more understanding, more resources, and policy recommendations, women continue to be largely marginalized and ignored or exploited in resource management processes throughout Asia – to the detriment of global climate and poverty reduction goals.”
Susan Assifah, a Kuala Lumpur-based researcher who is also exploring the relationship between women’s rights and environmental issues, said:
“We have long thought of women as keys to building societies, but in Asia the idea that women can be movers in the economic and environment realm has to be the biggest thing gained from this report.”
Meanwhile Cécile Ndjebet, president of the African Women’s Network for Community Management of Forests, commented:
“If women are left out of the land rights equation, we will see a drastic drop in agricultural production, leading to increasing food insecurity and potential famine.
“Poverty and displacement will increase, and we will see a drastic rise in conflicts over resource ownership and usage.”
The report identifies key areas of action necessary to break the ‘cycle of poverty’ into which many women are currently locked.
It highlights the importance of networks such as the Federation of Community Forest Users, Nepal (FECOFUN), which help to raise awareness and share information, while also calling upon other agencies – governmental and NGOs – to step up efforts at understanding and taking action on gender rights issues.
The full report is available here.