Let’s Bring More Women Into Permaculture’s Leadership | Omega

Omega has been helping support permaculture in the Northeast region and beyond for a number of years, nurturing a network of permaculture practitioners. We recently spoke with Lisa DePiano, who will be coteaching the Permaculture Teacher Training for Women at Omega this summer, to get some insight into the current place of women within the permaculture movement and what can be done to raise their profile. 

Omega: How do you see the place of women within the permaculture movement today?

Lisa: Currently we see a lot of women active in the permaculture movement. That said, not a lot of women are seen as being at the top levels of permaculture, the superstars. One of the principles of permaculture is diversity, but there are certain people who don’t see themselves reflected in the movement. Doing this teacher training is one solution to bring more diversity into leadership. The more diverse the leadership is, the more relevant it becomes, connecting it with other movements working for social change and environmental justice.

Statistically, if you look at it, if you have about 30 percent women in power, it changes the agenda of organizations. That’s a pretty powerful thing.

This teacher training helps draw attention to the need for more women in leadership positions within permaculture. There have been a lot of women working behind the scenes. They are the organizers, the people that hold classes or events in the community. They are the people that keep this running. Part of this training is recognizing these women as an asset and supporting them to put out there what they are thinking. 

Omega: Have you seen the role of women in permaculture changing at all in recent years? 

Lisa: Women in the northeast have been organizing, largely due to Omega being really interested in permaculture, and giving us a venue to hold gatherings. Out of that, women have been enabled to have their own gatherings, and to talk among themselves. By having places like Omega that are standing behind us, we’re able to further this momentum.

Omega: What do you think women can do to ensure that their voices and viewpoints are heard in a stronger way within the permaculture movement and within the environmental movement more broadly?

Lisa: What we’ll be doing in this course is really creating a regional support network, as well as creating more teachers that are qualified and available. By creating this network, women can organize and cross-promote each other. We’re helping ourselves be more visible.

© 2015 Omega Institute for Holistic Studies

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