Gender justice is an overarching objective of the SETAPAK program. The program recognizes that good forest and land governance is gender sensitive, and that gender justice needs to be prioritized in all governance processes, institutions and mechanisms in order to promote and safeguard women’s engagement and rights. Integrating gender into forest and land governance – by taking into consideration the differing needs of women and men at different socio-economic levels – is vital for planning and programming.
Increasing women’s participation in forest land and resource management is acknowledged to improve governance, resource allocation and the sustainability of forest resources. In particular, enhancing women’s participation in decision making committees in community forest institutions has been shown to improve forest governance and resource sustainability. Nevertheless, compared with men, women have less involvement over decision-making processes that define their access to the forest land and resources on which their livelihoods depend, and it is accepted that the exclusion of women and other gender-based injustices in forest tenure and forest governance have so far not been adequately addressed in Indonesia.
SETAPAK partners are therefore working with civil society and government to support initiatives that expand women’s participation in the policy making process, increase the representation of women, ensure equitable budget allocations, and raise awareness of gender issues to secure women’s rights. Forest resources are important to the livelihoods of many Indonesians living in poverty, particularly women who are often dependent on common property.
At the national level, SETAPAK partner JATAM has formed a Mining Women’s Work Team (Tim Kerja Perempuan Tambang), which has focused on women as both victims and pioneers in environmental advocacy. Partners have also supported female farmers who have been key witnesses in forest related law suits, and activists in forest protection initiatives. In some areas women’s groups have also been a focus in paralegal training.
Improvements in forest and land management governance are more likely to occur when the participation of everyone in the community, including women, is fairly and fully accommodated in voicing interests and concerns.
Addressing gender injustices
SETAPAK supported research to inform a gender position paper, which found that in environmental development, there is a growing concern that civil society organizations working on forest conservation strategies and programs lack the ability to address gender justice. This weakness may undermine CSO’s ability to ameliorate the gendered injustices that limit women and marginalized communities’ participation in forest governance. It also limits CSO’s ability to build grassroots constituencies, which are crucial for driving reform. The gender position paper provides a brief overview of the major gender issues relevant to forest and land governance, and offers key recommendations to help CSOs develop more gender sensitive advocacy and programming, to contribute to an overall objective of improving gender justice (including women’s participation) in forest governance.
Achieving gender justice in Indonesia’s forest and land governance sector: How civil society organisations can respond to mining and plantation industry impacts by Lies Marcoes et al, January 2015.