Gender and Blue Carbon: Women’s Complex Experiences of Climate Change and Mangrove Conservation in Madagascar

Authors: Manon Lefevre*,
Topics: Environment, Gender
Keywords: Feminist political ecology, climate change, gender, postcolonial studies
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Evergreen, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Understanding women’s experiences of mangrove conservation in the Global South is important because mangroves are a crucial defense against climate change, and are also increasingly the targets of global climate change policies. The intervention of postcolonial feminist theory combined with feminist political ecology has the potential to bring forward women’s seldom-heard experiences of climate change in these valuable ecosystems. In this essay, I work with women living in Madagascar’s largest mangrove, particularly under current mangrove reforestation efforts and emerging blue carbon climate change policies. My research questions explore how these women are situated along axes of power in the mangrove; how gender is constructed in order to reproduce women as subservient to men and to reproduce certain women as subservient to others; and how climate change policies and mangrove conservation reproduce hegemonic power relations in the mangrove. This research reveals a hierarchical social division among the women around mangrove conservation, which will undoubtedly impact future climate change policies, likely rooted in a colonial legacy of economic, political and social re-ordering that lingers in the mangrove today. This work supports previous feminist political ecology scholarship focused on understanding women’s complicated relationships to the environment and the gendered effects of ecological conservation and climate change policies, while challenging dominant conservation discourse around women as a monolithic group.As a result of this work, I hope that conservationists in Madagascar will consider their role in reifying long-held gendered divisions in order to enact more equitable and effective future climate change policies.

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