Identifying women’s attitudes and barriers to participating in a proposed community-based conservation group in western Belize
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With mounting research showing the many benefits of having women involved in community-based conservation (CBC) efforts, we wanted to identify and measure the attitudes and barriers to women participating in a CBC program in western Belize. We surveyed 500 women in communities surrounding the Vaca Forest Reserve to measure their interest in, attitudes toward, and possible barriers to participating in a CBC program. We assessed women’s intent to participate in CBC activities using the Theory of Planned Behavior to identify the attitudinal, normative, and behavioral control constructs that best predict their intentions to participate. Women indicated positive attitudes toward participating in a CBC program, while perceived behavioral controls had the largest influence on their intent to participate. Understanding the importance of and influence of these constructs on women’s participation will help us and other conservation scientists work with women to collaboratively design effective conservation programs.
KeywordsBelize Community-based conservation Structural equation model Theory of planned behavior
We would like to thank the WK McClure Scholarship for the Study of World Affairs and the Rainforest Alliance for financial support. Rafael Manzanero and other staff of Friends for Conservation and Development are thanked for their continued support along with Cayo Women for Conservation and the Program for Tropical Ecology and Conservation Science. We would like to acknowledge Arnoldo Melendez, Nasly Escobar, Nidia Panti, Hicela Panti, and the rest of the Panti family for research assistance.
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