Mother Earth and Resource Extraction: Women Defending Land and Water

Impacts on the Lives of the Women of Intag and Gender-based Analysis

Leer la versión en español de este contenido: Afectación a la vida de las mujeres de Íntag y análisis diferencial de género.

Compiled by Gloria Chicaiza

Excerpts from the report “Íntag: Una Sociedad que la Violencia No Puede Minar” (Intag: A Sociey that Violence Cannot Mine)."

Although the conflict over mining has been the constant that has conditioned the life of the population of Íntag, Ecuador, the community’s organizational capacity and its clarity in choosing life has made it a national and international reference for sustainable life proposals. These proposals include, among others, a mini energy generator project, a project that has not been able to be implemented due to governmental obstacles (Energies Sans Frontieres, 2009) as well as a network of agroecological organizations that guarantee the community’s food sovereignty, including through the export of organic certified fine coffee.

At public mobilizations, women challenge their traditional roles, taking an active role in the demand for human rights. Women’s affective logics become engines of struggle.

“Women who oppose mining are joined by a common bond” (Family 17).

It is pertinent to highlight the leading role of women who are:


• Managers of four women-run companies of clean and equitable production, such as: “The Workshops of the Great Valley” that create products made from the Luffa plant; “Women’s Association of El Rosal” that produce cosmetics from aloe vera; “Artisanal Association of Women and the Environment” that transform the natural fiber of the fique plant; and the “Association of the Women of Intag (GADI)” that make sportswear and offer experiential-based tourism.

• Advocates of the Ecotourism Network of Intag that promotes environmental and community tourism.

Leaders and members of the Assembly of the District of Cotacachi (AUCC), a space of construction and monitoring of public policy that for the past 19 years has supported the defense of Íntag against extractive activities. Through the AUCC’s efforts, Cotacachi was declared a “Healthy and Ecological District” free of mining though a municipal ordinance in 2001, the first of its kind in Latin America.

• Facilitators of training and human and environmental rights, and mining justice workshops.

A feminist approach ensures that the impacts of political violence are analyzed through a lens on the structural conditions of subordination and historical discrimination of women, which are aggravated by political violence and the actions of the state.

It is important to consider the violations and their respective impacts not only to make visible or denounce the horror, but to understand more clearly the experience of the affected women; this understanding supports them in their defense of their rights and makes their proposals visible.

“When the police entered, we made a chain of women, and they were with shields and helmets, they beat us” (Family 23).

It is also necessary to make visible women’s courage to defend their loved ones, to resist abuses, and especially their ability to transform themselves and social life around them—after and despite violence.

It is about broadening the vision of the consequences and the impacts that violence has on women, but it is also about acknowledging their contributions to recognize them as valuable members of society.


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