"When women make decisions about how to use land, it is a good thing for the environment, a new study has found.
The recent study shows involving more women can help stop deforestation. The study looked at what happens when more women are in groups deciding about land.
Addressing Inequality Between Men And Women
Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder) led the study. Last month, their results were published in the journal Nature Climate Change. The study explored whether gender quotas for local law making groups could help reduce deforestation. In this case, a gender quota makes sure a certain number of women participate in groups deciding about the environment. Creating groups with an equal number of women could also address inequalities between women and men.
Many of the world's threatened forests are owned and managed by small community groups. Women frequently have had no decision-making powers in those groups. For this reason, some legislatures and local governments have made laws. The laws require that a certain number of decision-makers are women.
Gender quota laws have been made in Argentina, India and Rwanda. These countries stipulated that 30 percent, or one-third, of the groups must be women. The laws also say the leaders in local governing bodies should be women. Since 2009, the country of Nepal has required that local committees representing forest communities include at least half women.
Still, those examples are an exception, suggested study co-author Krister Andersson. He's a professor and researcher at CU Boulder. He explained that when policymakers think about how to improve conservation, gender quotas aren't usually considered. "This study suggests they should be," he said."
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