Gender equality and women’s economic empowerment are important aspects of our work supporting wood-based micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the Mekong region. Women play significant roles and contribute to the sustainable management of forests and forest-related businesses at the household and community level. However, women often do not benefit equally and their participation in decision-making processes has been restricted.
Challenges faced by women are multi-layered. The heavy physical workload in forest plantations and timber processing, in conjunction with social gender norms, confine them to reproductive and unpaid domestic work. Enhancing women’s capacity and participation in economic activities in the forest sector can boost rural livelihoods, increase their inclusion in sustainable forest resource use, and reduce deforestation and forest degradation.
We have published a briefing to analyse the challenges women are facing and to identify how gender equality in the small-scale forest sector can be pursued.