Forests, Gender Equality and Employment in Tribal Areas: Issues and Concerns for Empowering Tribalwomen

Main Article Content

Ms. Bijaylaxmi Mohapatra, Dr. Itishri Sarangi, Dr. Sukanta K. Mahapatra


Forests and forest products play a vital role in the survival and development of tribal households in India. It is because of the significant influence of forests in their social, economic and cultural survival.  Compared to tribal men, forest and forest resources havemajor impact on the life and livelihood of tribal women.  Tribal families mainly earn their livelihood   through   Non-Wood   Forest   Product (NWFP) collection.   These   ranges   from collecting mahua flowers, tendu leaves used in making indigenous cigarettes, mushrooms and mahua seeds; tamarind and the collection of wild brooms. It has also been empirically found thar NWFPs provide satisfactory earning to the time spent in collection. In addition, tribal families   also   get   stable   income   from   NWFPs   in   which   the   engagement   of   women considerably are more than the male counterpart.

Starting from collection to processing, and further marketing of NWFPs, women play a major role. Forest has provided ample opportunities for engagement and employment of women in food security. In addition, the women also earned higher status in their tribal communities as a result of cash income by selling NWFPs. Further, women being more familiarity with forest has better knowledge of medicinal herbs and thus, they are more helpful not only wellbeing of families but also earn income fromthese sources. However, these tribal women, due to low literacy and numeracy skills and further due to lack of digital skills, gets less return being exploited by unscrupulous intermediaries and their agents. Therefore, there is a need of Skill development of these tribal women so that they get more revenues from it. The current paper aims to explore the extentof employment of women with regard to forest produce and the different areas in which these women can be skilled so that they earn more revenues and empower their families.

Article Details