The study “Voices leading the way: experiences regarding the intersection between environmental justice and economic autonomy of indigenous women” is the result of a Diploma Course aiming to contribute to the development of abilities, skills, and potential of indigenous women to move forward towards economic autonomy, based on principles of responsibility with the environment and environmental justice.
Six indigenous community researchers from Mexico, Guatemala, Tanzania, Kenya, Bangladesh and India have participated in leading the coordination of the Research and Impact Issues on Indigenous Women’s Life program of the International Indigenous Women Forum – IIWF, adopting an indigenous methodology called “learning ‘by doing’” under the Diploma Course modality, which has been accredited by the “Francisco de Vitoria” Institute of International and European Studies of the Carlos III University of Madrid and the Intercultural Indigenous University (UII), which is an Emblematic Training and Education Program of the Fund for the Development of Indigenous Peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean (FILAC).
The indigenous community researchers have documented and processed relevant information on how economic enterprises are responsibly created and promoted within the context of environmental justice in their respective countries, and IIWF has systematized the process in a single document, being conscious about the fact that, in order to promote the empowerment of indigenous women, it is a priority to revalue the traditional knowledge and ancestral wisdom that they possess, and understand that empowerment is a holistic process wherein women are the ones that empower themselves, integrating individual and collective dimensions.
The Diploma Course has been a motivating environment for the systematization and exchange of know-hows and their entire spiritual dimension, designed to allow indigenous women to develop and proactively assume the leadership they assume in their respective community contexts.
For indigenous women, economic autonomy is linked to the struggle for land, territory and natural resources, and it constitutes a demand to achieve environmental justice. The Diploma Course has been a platform for the exchange of knowledge about good practices for the promotion and defense of the economic autonomy of indigenous women and their right to access environmental justice.
Other cross-sectional aspects of the program have been the intercultural and interdisciplinary approach, the differentiated and intersectional perspectives, the revaluation of traditional knowledge and ancestral wisdom, the reflective and critical inter-learning processes and the collective construction of knowledge from the exchange of experiences, anecdotes, symbols, interpretations and levels of conceptualization.
The authors have sought to reflect on and reclaim the strength and wisdom of women in the studies, accepting that it is time to leave behind studies where they are characterized mainly as victims. They have stated that making the roots, knowledge and contribution of Indigenous Peoples visible is essential to empower and begin to heal the history of communities that have been severely violated by colonialism and capitalism.
Read it here: VoIces leading the way