Funding Agency: Galician Vice-presidency and the Galician Ministry for the President, Public Administration and Justice. Cooperación Galega.
Coordinating Investigator: Belén Fernández Suárez
Th CEXEF, Centre for Gender and Feminist Studies of the Universidade da Coruña, in cooperation with ESF Engineers without Borders, developed this study funded by Cooperación Galega (Galician Development Aid Department).
This was a pilot research on “Community and social participation of women in the management of common goods (water). Comparative study between Honduras and Galicia”.
To conduct a pilot study on the role and social and community participation of women in the management of common resources such as water. This first study compared the realities of Honduran and Galician women in rural areas to assess their participation in the management and use of community resources through the water boards organised in specific areas. The power asymmetries that we can find in any society are transferred to the field of natural resource management.
In order to determine what could influence the participation of women, we considered several factors such as: the role of women in different societies, the norms that rule membership in decision-making bodies in the community, social norms (gender segregation in the public space, gender division of labour and general behavioural norms), the social perceptions of men and women in a community regarding the capacity of women to contribute to the common good and to the public sphere, the level of control of community structures by men, sociodemographic features (age, social status, education) [Agarwal, 2001]. The work of Eloísa Piñeiro on the participation of women in the community management of Common Forests in Valadares (Vigo, Galicia, Spain) showed that, apart from being underrepresented in the structures, women’s presence was characterised by lack of power within them (Piñeiro, 2013).
Our study explored this hypothesis and used qualitative methodologies. In order to do that, we conducted fieldwork around water management in rural communities in Galicia (mainly in the provinces of Pontevedra and Lugo), as well as in the municipalities of the NASMAR association in the Golf of Fonseca in Honduras. The research technique used was gathering information through qualitative semi-structured interviews with two types of profiles: a) key informants for relevant information regarding the situation of women and their participation in both areas (social agents, social and trade union leaders, women’s organisations, etc.) and women from those communities with different levels of participation in community organisations. To develop this study, we contacted academic and social bodies working in the same field in Galicia and Honduras. Part of the pilot research objectives were to create transnational academic and social networks for future academic collaboration.
– Rosa Cobo Bedia
– Antía Pérez Caramés
– Carmen Castro García
– Francisco Javier Sánchez Lombardero
– Andrea Souto García
– Sandra López Pereiro