Vision, customs and traditions from wise women, healers and mermaids: building good governance to preserve diversity and promote gender equality

Considerable efforts over the past two decades have brought the international environmental community to understand the distinct roles that women and men play in conserving, celebrating and sharing biodiversity.
Exposing and understanding the gender-differentiated biodiversity practices, cosmology, traditions and knowledge of women and men enhances biodiversity conservation.
This event will showcase the traditions and spiritual values of wise women, healers, shamans, mermaids and witches from different regions of the world and their role in the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. Some of the guest speakers will be:
• The Jeju Mermaids, known as haenyeo. A breed of women who, for centuries, have gone free-diving year round to provide for their families. The existence of haenyeo shows beautifully how a society can organize itself around those able to harvest natural resources. They also take an active part in shamanic rituals (the locals believe 18,000 gods dwell on the island). At the core of their shamanic belief, there is a respect for nature and the belief that spirit resides in everything.
• Zoroastrian Studies Mumbai, a community based organization which disseminates information on Zoroastrianism and the Parsi community.
• Women healers and shamans from Latin American will share their cosmological vision and its value for the conservation of natural resources.

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