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Natural Resources Division

Implications of gender roles in natural resource governance in Latin America and the Caribbean

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Content

Editorial

In Latin America and the Caribbean, unequal access to the ownership and control of natural resources has created a gender gap in their governance, placing women at a clear economic, social and environmental disadvantage. These inequalities hinder women’s opportunities within the region’s development, relegating them to unpaid domestic work that consumes much of their time and denies them participation in decision-making inside the home and beyond. Women and girls currently live in a state of vulnerability, exacerbated by the effects of the environmental crisis, climate change and the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Issue No. 2 of the ECLAC Natural Resources in Latin America and the Caribbean Bulletin analyses the relationship between gender and the region’s key natural resources: biodiversity, water, energy, food and mining. It identifies the main economic, social and environmental impacts of the gender gap and the opportunities that exist for incorporating a gender perspective into public policies for those resources.

 

The results of this analysis underscore the need for public policies in the region that favour women’s access to ownership of land and water and, through that, to governance and decision-making over different natural resources. They also highlight the importance of including a gender perspective in job creation policies, which would have a positive effect for output and for women’s autonomy. Mainstreaming a gender perspective in all public policies related to natural resource management, as proposed in the 2030 Agenda, will make true sustainable development an achievable possibility in the medium and long terms.

 

Main article

Implications of gender roles in natural resource governance in Latin America and the Caribbean

Introduction

 

This article analyses relationships between gender and key natural resources —such as biodiversity, water, energy, food and mining— in Latin America and the Caribbean. It provides a comprehensive overview that identifies the main economic, social and environmental impacts, as well as the opportunities for incorporating gender perspectives into public policies for natural resources in the region. One of the main factors that has created a differentiated impact between men and women is the unequal access to ownership and control of natural resources, which creates a gender gap in natural resource governance (understood as governance of the ownership, modes of appropriation and distribution of the costs and benefits of renewable and non-renewable natural resources, so that society as a whole can benefit from their exploitation and/or conservation). Furthermore, this has a major impact on the unfair division of labour, wherein women are overburdened with care duties (see diagram 1), a situation that has been exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Diagram 1 
Consequences of inequality between men and women in access to natural resource ownership

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Fuente : Elaboración propia, sobre la base de los estudios y fuentes citados a lo largo de este boletín.

 

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Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)

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