Women in Resistance

When forests are destroyed, women in forest-dependent communities are hit hard: Their living conditions are particularly precarious; and providing food, medicine, materials and clean water becomes even harder. The traditional knowledge and wisdom that women pass down from generation to generation are also at risk. That is why women are often on the frontlines of the resistance to forest destruction.

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.

With the Covid-19 crisis, the initiatives of movements and collectives based on feminist economics have gained strength. Feminist economics leads us to reflect on the updated mechanisms of control, while continuing to affirm the capacity for resistance and reconstruction of bodies in movement.

The inter-dependencies in and among communities with their life spaces and practices sheds light to the conservation practices of forest communities. And within these interdependencies lie the stories of women.

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

Women’s struggle for full and dignified recognition of their lives and territories starts with not allowing the extractive model to progress. However, it must be resolved by the need for women to be able to make decisions to strengthen collective political control.

A feminist view on Commons reveals that accumulation opposes the basic principles of sharing and sustaining: receiving from nature’s abundance is done by ensuring that needs (and not wants or greed) define the extent of extraction.

Australian company Base Resources was allowed to destroy the Mikea Forest as long as it established an offset project, which, in turn, would impose far-reaching restrictions on communities to access their land and forests.