Despite the evidence of rural women's importance in the conservation and management of genetic resources, policy and research continues to fail to recognise differences in gender roles. The perception of women as housewives rather than farmers masks their extensive involvement and economic interest in managing and conserving natural resources, and makes developing gender sensitive biodiversity conservation strategies difficult. Rural women are thus under-resourced, undermining local competence, solutions and biodiversity adapted to local conditions over many years. The high technology, and often short-term, approaches of the industry and the transfer of control and ownership of genetic stocks and knowledge from the hands and minds of local communities, is a potential mechanism for increasing indebtedness and vulnerability in the long term. This section provides: a summary of the key issues; a list of less visible roles which can be overlooked in development; instances when women and girls may need special attention; examples of gender sensitive terms of reference; and some mini case studies illustrating gender issues and biodiversity.
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