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Gender Relations and Environmental Change

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C. Green
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Gender relations have a powerful influence on how environments are used and managed, and thus on patterns of ecological change over time. Yet environmental trends and shocks also impact on gender relations - for example, environmental degradation may alter the gender distribution of resources. This IDS Bulletin aims to integrate gender issues into analysis of the environment in ways which will lead to progressive change for women. Focusing on rural environments in Africa and Asia, the papers address a range of issues including water resource management, joint forest management, labour and technology, and out-migration. An emerging theme is the inadequacy of assuming that women's and environmental interests are necessarily complementary. Women may have little incentive for environmental sustainability, as suggested by Mackenzie's article which argues that in some areas of Kenya, women's limited control over land and labour has pushed them into soil-degrading forms of food-cropping. Another theme is the two-way relationship between gender relations and environmental change. Rocheleau's article shows, for example, how biodiversity in rural areas of Kenya is affected by gendered work, property and knowledge relations, but also how changes in diversity patterns impact on women and men's relationships with each other.

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