Logging conflicts in Southern Cameroon: A feminist ecological economics perspective
Growing attention has been paid to gender in ecological economics, political ecology and development studies but a focus on gender in resource extraction conflicts is still rare. This article explores women-led resistance movements to commercial logging in South-eastern Cameroon, focusing on the moabi tree (Baillonella toxisperma). The latter provides oil, medicine and other non-timber products and use-values to local forest societies and particularly to women. Resistances arise because most socio-environmental costs of the international logging trade are imposed on the rural populations and especially on women of the extractive regions. The aim of this paper is to analyze the root causes of the gender structure of such mobilisations as well as the impacts on gender relations induced by such resource extraction conflicts. After proposing a typology of different environmental currents and their gender counterparts, this paper focuses on the gender construction of local Bantu societies, taking as a point of departure Paola Tabet's thesis that masculine control over production tools is the objective factor revealing the sexual division of work. In our case study, we found that the men's control over technology not only highlights the sexual work division but also the gendered division of access rights to natural resources. Thereby, we argue that the sexual division of access rights and work -- revealed through differentiated control over technology -- are two key institutions explaining the gendered structure of local mobilizations. We, then, discuss the empowerment allowed by the new forms of women's organizations, with a particular focus on the appropriation of new production tools by women. This highlights a non-Western form of environmental feminism.
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