Accepted paper:

Indigenous women in the woods: Reimagining political participation and access in community-based natural resources management in Oaxaca, Mexico


Violeta Gutiérrez Zamora (University of Eastern Finland)

Paper short abstract:

From feminist political ecology perspective, this paper analyses how in Mexico liberal approaches over indigenous women's rights for political participation and gender equity in community-based natural resources management have failed and it proposes to rethink new emancipatory pathways.

Paper long abstract:

Indigenous women in rural areas of all Mexico suffer from intersectional oppression (for being indigenous and women), socio-economic inequality and lack of opportunities for political and public participation. Liberal democracy models and top-down reforms that intend to increase gender-equity in indigenous communities in Oaxaca, Mexico have failed to understand the dynamics of social inclusion and exclusion of women in such communities by considering them as only individual right-bearers. In this paper, I discuss the association between democracy and equity in natural resources management in two forest-dependent communities with government systems of uses and customs (usos y costumbres) in the Southern Sierra of Oaxaca, Mexico. Based on a feminist political ecology perspective in this paper, I analyse how liberal approaches over women's rights to political participation promote a conception of an atomised identity that creates further constraints for women to access to forest resources utilisation and decision-making platforms. In conclusion, new approaches are needed to the democratic decision-making processes and gender equity in community-based natural resources management (CBNRM). Hence they could go beyond the involvement of women in "economic benefits" and consider seriously the emancipatory pathways in which indigenous women can excise their political rights as women while participating in defence of their rights for self-government, and cultural difference.

panel B03
Examining inequalities in contexts of environmental degradation (Paper)