Gender Dimensions of Community-Based Management of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in Siquijor, Philippines
by Barbara Clabots
University of Washington
Equitable inclusion of women in Marine Protected Area managementGender Dimensions of Community-Based Management of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in Siquijor, Philippines
Women in Maite and Bino-ongan claim they are only “simple housewives,” a common self-perception of Filipinas. However, the interviews and focus groups conducted through this analysis reveal that women in these communities are much more than their modest claims. In Maite, women’s social networks strengthened the MPA, organized a way to generate income while still preserving the marine ecosystem and spread information about MPA policies to build community support. Perhaps best stated by the Maite MPA President: “Women are powerful nowadays, we can make an organization without men! We can do things done by men!” Maite women supported and educated Bino-ongan women about MPA monitoring, enforcement and income producing opportunities through sustainable dive tourism. A woman from Bino-ongan reflected on the motivation from Maite women, “They shared their knowledge in making the sanctuary…they in Maite helped us.” These personal networks—driven and maintained by women—are crucial to the long-term success of MPAs. Indeed, these stories provide an insight into the connections women build and the power they hold to be active and effective agents of change in MPA management.