In recent years inclusiveness has been promoted as an integral element of forest management and certification. Under Forest Stewardship Council certification, consultations and engagement with local communities are required in planning operations. Yet little research has been done to examine how local men and women participate in decision making in the context of forest certification. This case study aims to examine and compare inclusiveness in a certified and a non-certified forest management unit in the Republic of the Congo. Focus group discussions and individual interviews indicate that male participation is significant in both units. However, female participation is more active in the villages of the non-certified unit, where some of the women have achieved strategic positions. They display a greater level of selfmobilization and active participation, which can be linked to self-started initiatives. These findings may have important implications for voluntary certification bodies in encouraging women's participation.
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Vol. 19 • No. 2