Gendered Livelihoods and the Politics of Socio-Environmental Identity: Women’s Participation in Conservation Projects in Calakmul, Mexico


Radel, Claudia. 2012. “Gendered Livelihoods and the Politics of Socio-Environmental Identity: Women’s Participation in Conservation Projects in Calakmul, Mexico.” Gender, Place & Culture 19 (1): 61–82. 

Author: Claudia Radel


A livelihoods approach positions individuals, situated within households, as active agents within processes occurring at various scales. Environmental conservation efforts represent one such process with direct implications for local sustainable livelihoods and the gendered nature of livelihood strategies. In this article, I examine collective processes of socio-environmental identity construction as gendered sustainable livelihood strategies, articulated in and through the activities of women's agricultural organizations in communities bordering the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve in rural southern Mexico. I present group histories and visual evidence from group activities – adapted from participatory rural appraisal (PRA) methodology – to highlight two important concepts. These are: (1) that gendered livelihood strategies are outcomes of negotiations within households and communities, in response to specific gendered opportunities and constraints; and (2) that gendered livelihood strategies consist of linked material and ideological aspects.

Keywords: livelihood strategies, conservation, identity politics, women's CBOs, mexico

Topics: Agriculture, Development, Economies, Environment, Gender, Women, Gender Analysis, Households, Livelihoods, Political Economies Regions: Americas, North America Countries: Mexico

Year: 2012

© 2024 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at