Yes, women rangers are integral part of ecosystem conservation teams and must be treated like the soldiers as of male counterparts. As this report says, there is only 11% representation of women in ranger community. Being almost half of the world, we are only 11% in this profession. There are so many reasons for this status and we are working to get better in this part.
For getting more representation in rangers, first thing we started is to declare the awards for women rangers. There are so many women rangers who are doing excellent job for this nature conservation but get sidelined in this male dominated work culture. If we can get best of the works from women rangers in limelight then only others can come to know about this. So we started declaring award as “ Van Durga” that is ‘Goddess of Forest’. The women ranger who worked in different sections of ranger profession such as Protection, Conservation of species, Eco-tourism & nature interpretation and inspired other rangers to do better are selected for Award. We have one special award for Spouse of ranger. Being wife of ranger, I came across all odds of his duty, unscheduled works, risks of being alone at home, managing family in his absence. So the role of spouse of ranger is also important for getting better from him/her for the nature conservation. I guarantee, Rangers can perform well if they assured about their family welfare.
We support women rangers for their capacity building by providing technical books, rescue tools, self defense techniques and tools. We conduct workshops, lectures about legal provisions against the sexual harassment and violence at workplace. We also worked for keeping their motive high.
As per the definition of rangers as adopted at Chitwan declaration, the local communities who are working for biodiversity conservation are also termed as rangers. As here in India, we say, When one gentleman learned something, it is just a person who get benefitted. But when a lady learned something, it’s a family who get benefitted. Helping self help groups of women from local communities to get employment or skill development matters a lot for decreasing direct dependency on forest. Increasing non-consumptive use of biodiversity by providing alternate employment will strengthen their beliefs on mother earth. Arranging health check–up programs, distributing sanitary pads, arranging workshops for skill development will cater their needs for better livelihood and life.
The Exploring womanhood foundation is working for betterment of Women rangers and their families. I hope some of the other foundations, associations if started to work on these lines, and then we can expect more representation from women in the rangers. Increasing representation will definitely creates demand for better workplace and better concern of role. So I request all fellow women rangers to be our role model and motivate other girls to be in this noble profession of nature conservation.