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The Gendered Dimensions of Urban Wildmeat Trafficking in the Republic of Congo

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Wildlife trafficking poses risks to biodiversity conservation and sustainable human-environment relationships; it is a serious crime comprising a substantial proportion of the global criminal economy. Current literature suggests that women might not be involved in environmental exploitation, such as urban wildmeat trafficking (UWT), beyond roles traditionally associated with moral caretaking or “soft” crime (i.e., food preparation). However, insights about the gendered dimensions of UWT remain equivocal. Using feminist political ecology to guide our inquiry, we sought to (1) explore relationships between women and wildlife products across the supply chain, and (2) determine whether a significant relationship exists between women and specific wildmeat products. Results indicate that there are gendered variations in (1) species, (2) products, (3) geographic origin and destination, and (4) means of transportation. An unwritten declaration of almost immovable gender expectations may fuel misconceptions regarding gendered participation in UWT . As such, interventions, policies, and programs cannot be based on best available evidence.

This talk is part of the Political Ecology Group meetings series.

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