Gender, Seeds, and Biodiversity

Citation:

Sachs, Carolyn E. 1997. “Gender, Seeds, and Biodiversity.” In Women Working In The Environment. New York: Routledge.

Author: Carolyn E. Sachs

Abstract:

All over the world, declining biodiversity threatens people's livelihoods, cultures, and standards of living. Degradation of the environment, destruction of natural habitats, and changes in cultural strategies for survival contribute to the increasing loss of biodiversity and also to the impoverishment of women (Abramovitz, 1994; Shiva, 1995). Declines in biological resources often result in declining standards of living for many people in the world, especially women and the poor (Abramovitz, 1994 ). Women, in many cultural contexts, rely on diverse biological resources to provide food, clothing, housing, and other needs for their families. As access to these resources declines through environmental degradation or inequitable distribution of resources between men and women, women's workloads often increase and their ability to provide food for their families decreases. As a result of gender divisions of labor, women and men have different knowledge about plants and other biological resources (Sachs, 1996). Efforts to preserve biodiversity have generally neglected women's work and knowledge about crops and other natural resources. This chapter focuses on women's knowledge and efforts to maintain crop diversity. First, we discuss reasons for the decline in crop genetic diversity; then, we focus on two studies of seed saving in the United States and the Peruvian Andes.

Topics: Agriculture, Economies, Gender, Men, Women, Livelihoods Regions: Americas, North America, South America Countries: Peru, United States of America

Year: 1997

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