Gender inequality has been widely identified as one of the barriers for conservation and sustainable development. For example, international conventions such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), have acknowledged the importance of gender equality in biodiversity conservation. In 2014 parties to the CBD adopted decision XII/17, Mainstreaming gender considerations into the CBD which “recognizes the importance of gender considerations to the achievement of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.”  Existing gender inequality can be observed in many ways. From the limited number of women in leadership positions, professional jobs, and in field positions such as rangers and protected area managers, to cases of sexual harassment and gender violence in and around protected areas.  In addition, the unequal distribution of land ownership and participation in decision-making regarding land use and the fact that women’s voices are often absent or underepresented in regards to community and national level political decisions regarding natural resource utilization and climate change adaptation all indicate a continued lack of equality.  This lack of equality effects the quality of long-term planning and the development of  diverse approaches to conservation.

a woman giving a presentation

CPAM’s program on Gender and Protected Areas is taking a multi-pronged proactive approach to address gender inequality in conservation. Key areas of emphasis within the program include: high-level partnerships with institutions that are responsible for national protected area systems; annual seminars on women’s leadership in protected areas, bidodiversity conservation, and climate change; regional training courses on protected area management for women rangers; and research on gender and conservation. By addressing gender at the institutional and individual levels, CPAM aims to affect multi-level change in policies, practices, and people, creating an environment where women conservation professionals stand on equal ground and thrive.

CPAM also collaborated with CSU assistant professor and CPAM executive committee member, Dr. Jennifer Solomon, who is conducting research in this field.

CPAM has formed a steering committee to help inform the development of its Gender and Protected Areas Program.  Our steering committee includes:

  1. Rosa Maria Vidal, Senior Advisor, CPAM
  2. Dr. Jennifer Solomon, Assistant Professor, Colorado State University
  3. Lorena Aguilar, Global Senior Gender Advisor, International Union for the Conservation of Nature
  4. Andrea Santy, Director, Education for Nature Program – World Wildlife Fund
  5. Janine Wilkin, Senior Advisor, The Nature Conservancy
  6. Ryan Finchum, Co-director, CPAM
  7. Erin Hicks, Training Coordinator, CPAM