"Just add women and stir gently" : gendered impacts of tourism development on household livelihood security and implications for local participation.
Local stakeholder participation is critical for the sustainability of Protected Areas in developing countries. Community members have vested interests in conservation efforts, as their household livelihood depends on the natural environment in which they live. Women are key stakeholders in development projects because of their often unrecognized natural resource management roles. Historically, however, women have been left out of stakeholder meetings, policy making, and project implementation. The Government of Belize is focusing on the ecotourism industry as a development strategy to protect natural resources and to increase the household livelihood security of participants. This research serves as a measure to identify economic and social securities in households from both tourism and non-tourism based communities. The quantitative data show that female-headed households are economically more vulnerable than male-headed households, but are overall more secure than dual-headed households. Further investigation reveals differences in security rates among households in tourism and non-tourism communities.