Women care about local knowledge, experiences from ethnomycology
1 Laboratorio de Sistemática, Ecología y Aprovechamiento de Hongos Ectomicorrízicos, Departamento de Botánica, Instituto de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Circuito Exterior s/n, A.P. 70-233, C.P. 04510, Ciudad Universitaria, D.F, Mexico
2 Jardín Botánico, Instituto de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, A.P. 70-614, C.P. 04510, Ciudad Universitaria, D.F, Mexico
3 Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, A.P. 70-181, C.P. 04510, Ciudad Universitaria, D.F, Mexico
Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 2012, 8:25 doi:10.1186/1746-4269-8-25Published: 18 July 2012
Gender is one of the main variables that influence the distribution of local knowledge. We carried out a literature review concerning local mycological knowledge, paying special attention to data concerning women’s knowledge and comparative gender data. We found that unique features of local mycological knowledge allow people to successfully manage mushrooms. Women are involved in every stage of mushroom utilization from collection to processing and marketing. Local mycological knowledge includes the use mushrooms as food, medicine, and recreational objects as well as an aid to seasonal household economies. In many regions of the world, women are often the main mushroom collectors and possess a vast knowledge about mushroom taxonomy, biology, and ecology. Local experts play a vital role in the transmission of local mycological knowledge. Women participate in the diffusion of this knowledge as well as in its enrichment through innovation. Female mushroom collectors appreciate their mycological knowledge and pursue strategies and organization to reproduce it in their communities. Women mushroom gatherers are conscious of their knowledge, value its contribution in their subsistence systems, and proudly incorporate it in their cultural identity.