In the other cases, even where women have been included they have had far
less influential roles than men.
In the San- Hoodia case, (see Chap. 4 ) only men were directly involved in the
original negotiations with South Africa's Council for Scientific and Industrial
Research (CSIR) and the other parties, including the Hoodia growers' groups. The
direct participation of women leaders, who constituted a very small minority in the
relevant meetings, took place only at a much later stage in the process, when some
key decisions had already been taken. Once agreements had been reached on ben-
efit sharing (e.g. royalties), the San- Hoodia Benefit-Sharing Trust was formed by
the San and the CSIR to receive and allocate the money among the San people. At
the time of writing, only one of the seven elected San trustees is a woman.
It has been suggested that some benefit-sharing funds have been used specifi-
cally to benefit women. For example, in the allocation of the money from the Kani
who was killed by an elephant, and some for the family of another woman who
committed suicide. The key informant (a woman) cited these examples as evi-
dence that women do participate in decision-making and that women's needs are
taken care of in the benefits distributed by the Kerala Kani Samudaya Kshema
Trust. 6 However, a gender analysis suggests that this reflects thinking that con-
flates the interests of children with those of their mothers, on the assumption that
mothers do not have interests distinct from those of their children. Empirical evi-
dence actually indicates that the Kani women have many urgent needs of their
own, for example around reproductive health care, which is illustrated by high
abortion rates and low contraceptive use (Menon 1999 ). We would argue that bet-
ter representation of women in the decision-making process about distributing
monetary benefits from the trust could improve the targeting of funds, the better to
address women's actual needs.
tion in the widespread public debates over the deCODE project. 7 Women consti-
tuted only one quarter of the members of the parliament that passed the Act on a
Health Sector Database for the deCODE project 8 (Table 6.1 ).
It is significant that this marginalization of women in negotiation and deci-
sion-making is commonly found in all five cases despite fundamental differences
between these societies in the nature of socio-economic and political develop-
ments within them. For instance, the San (southern Africa) and Kani (India)
are indigenous societies that are in the process of being integrated into the mar-
ket economy, while the Majengo (Kenya) and Nigerian societies are already so
6 Apart from the trust fund, the Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute has also
implemented capacity building for women. This includes an entrepreneurship development
programme, the establishment of cooperative societies and self-help groups, and marketing strat-
egies (personal communication from Dr Sachin Chaturvedi, October 2007).
7 Data provided by Gardar Arnason, GenBenefit project meeting, Paris, 7 July 2008.
8 In Iceland's 1997 election, the percentage of women elected to parliament was 25.4% http://