Asia and the Pacific

Women and Conservation

Why It Matters if Women Are Involved in Conservation

A growing body of scientific evidence shows that increasing women’s ability to participate in natural resource management creates a win-win situation for nature and people. It can empower women, increase employment opportunities, improve women’s ability to plan for their families and result in more positive outcomes for conservation.

The Conservancy is partnering with communities and local women’s groups to support women’s involvement in conservation, economic development and decision-making. We do this by investing in strong leaders and diverse and inclusive work environments. This approach helps women create more prosperous and healthy futures for themselves, their children, their environment and their communities.

Action That Brings Lasting Prosperity for People and Nature

In Asia Pacific, we are supporting women in a number of ways:

  • Supporting a New Generation of Women Leaders: In collaboration with a local women’s network in the Solomon Islands, the Isabel Mothers’ Union, we have trained 40 community facilitators who are raising awareness about the importance of making well-informed and inclusive decisions around big issues such as mining and logging. To date, their work has reached over 12,000 people in remote communities, and their inputs are informing the national mining policy reform process.
  • Working to Improve Livelihoods and Food Security: In Papua New Guinea, we work with the Manus Women’s Environment and Development Forum on managing their near shore fisheries and mangroves. The forum is also actively supporting many women to improve their gardening practices to ensure more reliable food year round. For example, local women from Powat village began promoting seaweed as compost to improve soil quality for gardens. This farming has proven very successful—women in Powat were able to grow edible food crops to sustain the daily diet of their families.
  • Co-Founded a Regional Women Leaders’ Forum: TNC helped establish the Women Leaders’ Forum within the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security in order to:
    • Provide a peer-learning network for women who are playing key leadership roles in sustaining the marine resources of the Coral Triangle region;
    • Recognize the achievement of grassroots women leaders who are championing marine conservation in the six Coral Triangle countries; and
    • Serve as a platform to build the capacity of women from the Coral Triangle to take leadership roles in preserving and sustaining the region’s unique marine and coastal resources.
  • Helping Two Women Ranger Groups in Northern Australia: Together with partners in in Southeast Arnhem Land, TNC is working with women rangers to:
    • Build community support for and awareness of women’s role in Indigenous land management;
    • Facilitate the intergenerational transfer of women’s traditional knowledge and leadership development; and
    • Share lessons learned with the community and other ranger groups in Northern Australia.
  • Networks of Women Are Improving Conservation and Their Lives: At the recent World Conservation Congress, the Conservancy brought together representatives from Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, the CTI Women Leaders’ Forum and our Northern Australia program to learn from one another and share their stories at this global conservation event, held once every four years. This Congress gave the women a rich learning environment where ideas were exchanged across the three countries and from the many global connections made throughout the conference.
  • Uniting Women Around Conservation, Culture and Community: The Nature Conservancy has brought together women from three local communities in the Solomon Islands to form KAWAKI, a group of women dedicated to raising awareness about conservation in their villages and protecting the largest hawksbill turtle nesting area in the South Pacific. In collaboration with TNC, the women work to protect sea turtle nesting habitats in their communities and have developed a set of environment education materials that can be used to present information in schools and villages without power. With the support of TNC these women aim to nurture and protect their natural environment and culture to build a better future for their children and communities.
  • Nature’s Leading Women Event: This event, to be held in November in Brisbane, will bring together women from four regions to participate in financial literacy, business management and leadership training. This event will also serve as an opportunity for the women to learn from each other and showcase  how they are protecting their environment and creating better opportunities for their communities.
  • Empowering Women Through Fish-Based Food Production: In Raja Ampat Regency, West Papua, Indonesia, The Nature Conservancy has been promoting conservation and sustainable fishing practices through the empowerment of women in local communities. We’re training communities in how do identify, size and weigh more than 120 species of deep water fish to inform sound management practices.


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