Acceptance and relevance of gender (mainstreaming) aspects in Alpine protected areas [Mathilde Schmitt]


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Acceptance and relevance of gender (mainstreaming) aspects in Alpine protected areas. Presented by Mathilde Schmitt at the "Perth II: Global Change and the World's Mountains" conference in Perth, Scotland in September 2010.

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Acceptance and relevance of gender (mainstreaming) aspects in Alpine protected areas [Mathilde Schmitt]

  1. 1. Mountain Research: Man and Environment Acceptance and relevance of gender (mainstreaming) aspects in protected alpine areas Mathilde SchmittGlobal Change and the World’s Mountains Workshop 3.7 Consequences ofPerth, Scotland, UK 2010 Economic and Cultural Globalisation
  2. 2. The story of the tree-stump
  3. 3. Political framework• EC Women’s Charta 2010 on building a gender perspective into all policies, requires the integration of gender aspects into regional development. Protected areas can serve as platforms in (a) their function as educational and recreational space, (b) their role as lebensraum (living space).
  4. 4. Research questions• In which matters of protected mountain areas and regional development are gender perspectives considered as important?• To what extent is gender (mainstreaming) accepted?• What gender-equitable measures are planned or already realized?
  5. 5. Theoretical framework• Gender aspects have gained importance with the paradigm shift towards integrative biodiversity politics (Mose and Weixlbaumer 2003);• Nature is seen as ‘Mitwelt’, not as environment (Meyer-Abich 1990);• Symbolic meaning and social responsibility for protected areas have to be renegotiated (Kupper 2008);• Gender-specific relationships exist as a result of different experiences, social attributions and living arrangements of men and women (e.g. Aulenbacher/ Wetterer 2009; Bock/Shortall 2006; Whatmore 1991).
  6. 6. Gender perspectives should be taken into account in order to• guarantee equal access for everybody;• encourage lasting commitment to nature conservation in both sexes alike;• support the understanding of nature/culture, urban/rural for boys and girls alike;• foster an understanding of the need for sustainable development based on gender-specific experiences.
  7. 7. Gender equality is necessary• Rural development and infrastructure are strongly influenced by men‘s interests;• In general, the social acceptance of women in rural politics is very low;• Women are increasingly willing to (a) participate in environmental debates, (b) to speak out on environmental issues.
  8. 8. Study area
  9. 9. Data and methodology• Online survey of protected alpine areas with a semi- standardized questionnaire conducted in summer 2010;• 150 protected areas (national park, biosphere reserve, nature park, regional park, UNESCO World Natural Heritage) approached by email;• High rate of return, but not all questionnaires fully completed;• Breakdown by country: Austria 19 France 5 Germany 1 Italy 13 Switzerland 5 Slovenia 1
  10. 10. Initial results• Gender-specific visitor monitoring or research results exist but are not used in day-to-day decisions or operations;• If gender mainstreaming measures are realized, then in the area of human resource management;• Only very few employees or volunteers are trained in gender-specific issues;• Gender aspects are considered important but for very different reasons:
  11. 11. Importance of gender aspects
  12. 12. Desired future developments• Better acceptance by the local people;• More support from the public;• More financial and personnel resources;• Only once: higher gender-specific sensitivity  gender mainstreaming is seen as optional extra, not as a basic requirement
  13. 13. Many thanks• to my colleagues who supported this work in one way or the other,• to ALPARC (the Alpine Network of Protected Areas) for the use of their photographs and• to all of you for your attention!