PROSPER Policy Brief #9: Participation of Women in Community Forests

Liberia’s Community Rights Law (CRL) recognizes the fundamental importance of inclusive participation for community forest management. However, practical challenges to the broad involvement of women as well as poor men remain. That said, it is important to recognize that “pushing” women to participate in community forest governance, without sufficient attention to mitigating the costs of their participation may have negative, unintended consequences. Participation may add to a woman’s burden of responsibilities and time poverty or provoke a backlash against their speaking out at public forums. A central question is: how to promote inclusive participation for strong community forest management, which does not unduly burden women or other marginalized groups.

This policy brief examines the justification for special consideration of social inclusion in community forest governance in Liberia, reviews the experience of promoting women and marginalized people’s participation in forest management, and proposes several options to support inclusive engagement in community forestry.