Women and Tree Monocultures

Sexual violence and loss of access to land and water are specific impacts that women face when large-scale tree plantations take over community land. Once established, these industrial plantations interfere with food production and women's ability to move freely on their own land. That is why in many places affected by industrial tree plantations, women take the lead in organizing their communities and defending their territories.

Oil palm company Socfin has meant oppression for affected communities. Yet, women have to confront another patriarchic system. Paramount Chiefs are the custodian of the land according to customary law, which often give men decision-making and ownership power over land.

Oil palm plantations are one of the most unsafe spaces for women, not only because of their vulnerable working status packed with injustices and precarities, but also because of the potential for sexual violence and harassment. (Available in Indonesian).

(Only available in Portuguese) Confira o vídeo com o posicionamento da comunidade contrária à passagem de caminhões de eucalipto.

WRM Bulletin Compilation. Available in English and Indonesian.

Can the inclusion of gender-specific policies in the operations of oil palm companies and the RSPO certification scheme do more than cover up the violence and structural patriarchy and racism inherent in the plantation model? How, in such context, do these gender policies unfold?

This International Women’s Day we share a message, a series of articles from the WRM bulletin, and a recent video made by the Informal Alliance Against Oil Palm Plantations in Central and West Africa.

Patriarchal oppression is inseparable from the industrial plantation model, and it is at the base of how companies generate profits. Companies target women, including due to their fundamental role in community life.

The video “NO to violence against women and girls living in and around oil palm plantations” denounces the violence against women in West and Central Africa whose lands have been invaded by industrial oil palm plantations.

While palm oil companies present themselves as benevolent donors during the pandemic, communities living in and around these plantations tell another story. Activists against industrial oil palm plantations talk about communities’ situation since the Covid-19 outbreak.

Women, particularly those who depend on forests for their livelihoods and sustenance, face many struggles.