ABSTRACT

This chapter argues that attention to sustainable use of the environment in the development process necessarily entails a greater emphasis on gender and the issues raised by feminist analysis. Women who manage rural households experience soil erosion, deforestation, and contaminated water supplies directly, because these events impinge on their ability to provide for their families. Women's contribution to waged and unwaged agricultural work had previously been assumed to be negligible or certainly at low levels. Women risk losing access to the resources that they manage in the interest of household self-provisioning and seeing these resources shifted into more market-oriented uses. Innovations and new market processes have a tendency to marginalize women, not only by shrinking their productive domains but also in processing and consumption. Both Carolyn Merchant and Vandana Shiva believe that women retain access to alternative ways of conceptualizing the environment and of living within it.