Women and Natural Resources Management

In the Philippines, women comprise almost 38 million (49.6%) of the total population (2000 Census of Population and Housing, NSO). The Philippine Plan for Gender-Responsive Development (PPGD) data from 2004 states women comprise 25.8 percent of agricultural, animal husbandry and forestry workers, fishers and hunters; 58 percent of these women are unpaid family workers. Whereas in 1989, the PPGD indicated that women comprise a low percentage of employed persons in forestry, 11.4%; hunters and related workers, 5.6 percent; miners, quarry workers, well drillers and related workers, 13.7 percent; metal processors, 3.5 percent; wood preparation workers and paper makers, 9.1 percent; stone cutters and carvers, 22.2 percent.

To ensure that women’s voice is heard in environment and natural resources (ENR) policy making and management, several mechanisms have been instituted specifically by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). In 1989, the Technical Working Committee on Women (TWCW) was created which served as DENR’s Women in Development Focal Point. The TWCW was mandated to ensure that policies, programs and projects of the agency responded to the needs and interests of its women clients/beneficiaries as well as its employees.

In partnership with the National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (now PCW), a Women and Ecology Group composed mainly of women experts from government and non-government sectors was also created. The Women Ecology Group was tasked to recommend policy and programs for the sector to be institutionalized in government agencies particularly in the DENR. The Group’s efforts yielded policy recommendations on integration of gender consciousness in environmental concerns, review and modification of laws and regulations for gender-responsiveness, establishment of mechanisms to ensure proportionate representation of women governing bodies for natural resources management, and monitoring of compliance on directives for gender-responsiveness.  Gender-specific researches as well as integrated gender components in researches were also done on several ENR concerns.

The Philippine Strategy for Sustainable Development (PPGD) also indicates specific objectives to ensure the full participation in and benefit by women from sustainable development. These include the institutionalization of gender mainstreaming; promotion of women’s participation as agents and beneficiaries in the development and management of natural resources; improvement of the living conditions of women and their families in the ENR subsectors; and raise the level of awareness and skills of ENR development agents and beneficiaries on WID/GAD and ENR concerns.