That men are always side-lining women is one of the controversial social debates. It is the hard truth that women are one of the categories of people that suffer from social exclusion. Others being in the lot being children, people with physical disabilities, the elderly among others. Unfortunately social exclusion against women has often denied them the opportunity to better their lives. In fact research blames much of the gender poverty to gender (women) exclusion.
In the area of conservation the role of conservation was merely a preserve for men. Being a patriarchal community the Batwa rarely included women voices in community meetings and decision making. Traditionally, the role of the Batwa women was restricted to the ‘kitchen’ and bearing and taking care of the children. Unfortunately, women’s roles such as food gathering and preparation as well as hand craft material gathering often caused harm to the environment.
KIWOCEDU projects are now to change the gender perceptions and mind-set. Through the project, KIWOCED-U created awareness among the Batwa communities to engage women in critical decisions. CORBS project has funded women capacity initiatives in the areas of conservation and sustainable resource use. Batwa men are also beginning to support women initiatives and opinions in environment conservation planning and implementation.
We do strongly believe that putting women at the centre of conservation initiatives is the way to go for insuring gender inclusiveness in poverty eradication and sustainable environment conservation. Where women are fully involved, the end results are twice as much better. And so let us all engage and support gender mainstreaming for a sustainable environment.