Bina Agarwal Lecture
Gender and Forest Governance: A History of Absence, the Impact of Presence
Prof. Bina Agarwal
The Institute of Economic Growth, University of Delhi
March 19, 2012
Our Spring 2012 lecture featured prize-winning economist Bina Agarwal, Director and Professor of Economics at the Institute of Economic Growth, New Delhi, India. Drawing upon her most recent book, Gender and Green Governance, Professor Agarwal gave an inspiring lecture in Rapaporte Treasure Hall, Goldfarb Library. She spoke of the historical absence of women from forest governance and in particular the impact of women's presence in making a significant change in environmental preservation. President Fred Lawrence also attended the lecture and introduced Professor Agarwal.
She began her lecture with a wonderful quote from J.R.R. Tolkein about the wonder of trees and to draw her audience into an interesting and sustained engagement with questions relating to gender and ecological concerns. Her new book addresses how research on gender and green governance in other disciplines has focused mainly on women's near absence from forestry institutions. Ms. Agarwal asks the important question: Would women's inclusion in forest governance--undeniably important for equity--also affect decisions on forest use and outcomes for conservation and subsistence? In her lecture, she drew upon her field research in India and Nepal to talk not only about green governance, but also about women’s exclusion from public institutions. She spoke at length about addressing poor rural women's needs, such as for clean domestic fuel and access to common land.An elegant exegesis that spanned environmental studies, political economy and gender analysis, Professor Agarwal’s talk illuminated the current debates on gender and governance, forest conservation, clean energy policy, critical mass and social inclusion.