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GENDER ROLE IN WILDLIFE PROTECTION: DIFFERENCES BETWEEN MEN AND WOMEN SOCIAL PERCEPTIONS IN CANTANHEZ WOODLAND NATIONAL PARK (GUINEA-BISSAU)

S. Costa
CAPP (Centro de Administração e Políticas Públicas) Instituto Superior de Ciências Sociais e Políticas
susanagkosta@gmail.com
C. Casanova
CAPP (Centro de Administração e Políticas Públicas) e Unidade de Antropologia, ISCSP-UTL
CESAM (Centro de Estudos do Ambiente e do Mar) Universidade de Aveiro
ccasanova@iscsp.utl.pt
P. Lee
Psychology, School of Natural Sciences, University of Stirling, Scotland, UK
phyllis.lee@stir.ac.uk

Gender plays an important role in the way people interact with conservation programmes. For instance, African women are less positive towards conservation initiatives then men, probably due to their low participation in decision-making processes. Generally, men dominate decision-making and are more aware of the NGO’s and government’s efforts to protect wildlife and habitats.
This presentation considers how gender interferes in the way men and women from Tombali (Guinea-Bissau) perceive wildlife – i.e. chimpanzees – and Cantanhez Woodland National Park (CWNP). Two hypotheses are considered: (i) Men and women see famine as their biggest life constraint (ii) Though villagers depend on farming to feed their families; women are more negative regarding the national park then men. In-depth interviews (N=47) and 5 focus groups were conducted (N=47) for 9 weeks, respectively with men and women. Women-only groups were vital since these (according to information of previous visits) are more difficult to interview due to their busy daily routine. Besides, since females are not expected to hold opinions, they are usually kept aside from social researchers’ attention. Testimonies were recorded and analysed using content – textual and conceptual – analysis techniques and Atlas.ti (version 6.0.12) was used.
Famine does emerge as subjects’ major concern, which explains their intolerance to chimpanzee crop-raiding. The absence of alternative livelihoods and compensations contributes to their anger against wildlife, especially chimpanzees. Though women’s expectations about their future are low, men hold positive prospects regarding the support they might get from social researchers and NGOs. Women could be good allies for biodiversity conservation in the future, although empowerment programmes are needed to engage them in conservation practice. It is also imperative to create a compensation plan and a set of solutions that would allow villagers to be less park (and its services) dependent.

Keywords: Chimpanzees, conservation, gender, social perceptions

Biographic note
Susana Costa, Doutorada em Psicologia pela Universidade de Stirling, na Escócia (Reino Unido), desenvolveu trabalho de campo no Parque Nacional das Florestas de Cantanhez (Guiné-Bissau). Interessa-se especialmente pelo modo como as representações sociais e as atitudes exercem influência no comportamento humano e em que medida o mesmo pode contribuir para a preservação ou destruição dos ecossistemas. Actualmente, lecciona o módulo de Métodos e Técnicas de Investigaçao na Pós-graduação de Antropologia Biológica e Forense, do Instituto Superior de Ciências Sociais e Políticas da Universidade Técnica de Lisboa.
Catarina Casanova é doutorada pela Universidade de Cambridge em Antropologia (especialidade de Antropologia Biológica), pertenceu ao Darwin College.  Desde 2002 que desenvolve trabalho de campo na Guiné-Bissau tendo publicado inúmeros artigos sobre diferentes temas em contexto Guineense (primatologia, percepções e representações sociais e conflitos em áreas protegidas, entre outros temas). É professora associada de Antropologia no Instituto Superior de Ciências Sociais e Políticas e membro integrado do CAPP. É presidente da Sociedade Portuguesa de Primatologia e integra inúmeras sociedades científicas internacionais.