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University of Ottawa (2021)

Does Traditional Knowledge Have Gender ? Unmasking the Experience of Female Traditional Knowledge-Holders in the Production of Iranian Saffron and Handwoven Carpets

Jerban, Ghazaleh

Titre : Does Traditional Knowledge Have Gender ? Unmasking the Experience of Female Traditional Knowledge-Holders in the Production of Iranian Saffron and Handwoven Carpets

Auteur : Jerban, Ghazaleh

Université de soutenance : University of Ottawa

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 2021

Résumé partiel
One of the key international policy challenges in the intellectual property (IP) regime is the issue of traditional knowledge (TK) protection. TK has a bearing on debates around biodiversity, food, agriculture, health, expressions of folklore, trade and development, and human rights. In the policy and academic debates around TK protection, a critical gender perspective is often underdeveloped. Guided by feminist legal methodology, an approach founded on women’s experience of exclusion, and using two feminist methods of gender impact assessment and qualitative interviews, the thesis makes a case for mainstreaming gender in TK law and policy. In most Indigenous and local communities around the world, women play a significant role in the generation, transmission, and use of TK. There are different contributions by Indigenous and local women to the TK system, and there is also differential impact of TK misappropriation on these women. Critical evidence to support the importance of gender as an influential factor in TK protection is based on in-depth examination of two case studies, namely Persian handwoven carpets and saffron. My fieldworks in Kashan, “the city of handwoven carpets”, and Khorasan, “the province of saffron” enabled me to examine the role of Iranian local women and their TK in handwoven carpet and saffron production. Iran is the undisputed centre of saffron production, where the tradition dates back over 3,000 years. The superiority of Iranian saffron comes not only from the climatic conditions but also the rich heritage of TK in growing and processing the crop with Iranian local women as the main performers in different stages of saffron production. Persian hand-woven carpet as an icon of Iranian culture, dating back about 2000 years, is another illuminating example of products in which women and their TK play a major role. From carpet weaving workshops to saffron farms, I found one common theme : the invisibility of women’s TK that is taken for granted while it is the very basis of production. Lack of proper attention to women’s TK in these sectors and its potential for women’s empowerment, has led to many local women and most of the younger generation losing their interest in carpet weaving and saffron production, which in the long run can put the TK in danger of becoming forgotten

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Page publiée le 19 avril 2021