Women’s empowerment through collective action: How forest and farm producer organisations can make a difference
Half of the 1.5 billion people globally who rely on forest landscapes for subsistence and cash income are women. Many see the benefits of participating in various forest and farm producer organisations (FFPOs). These include both general community, smallholder farmer and indigenous people’s organisations and more specific women-only groups – in a range of forms from informal structures to registered cooperatives. The provision that these organisations make towards employment, vocational training and multiple other social and cultural services is unmatched in many of the more industrial-scale privatesector models. The provisions that such organisations make are particularly important for women. Of the 1.351 billion people who live on less than USD1.25 per day and who depend on natural resources for employment, some 829 million are women and girls – as opposed to 522 million men and boys (Poschen 2015). Entrepreneurial empowerment of women matters.
This research report explores different organisational structures and social and cultural services from a gender-equality and women’s empowerment perspective. More specifically, it examines how access to social and cultural services can facilitate women’s participation in economic and political life. The producer organisation business model provides advantages in creating job opportunities and access to markets for women, positive spill-over effects in both household and group businesses, and access to social services such as vocational trainings, childcare and maternity leave – all of which support women to participate in the labour market on a more equal footing with men.