Worldwide, the palm oil industry has a track record of devastating impacts on women, their communities and the environment. Systematic human rights violations, persecution of human rights defenders, and the loss of forests and biodiversity are threatening the way of life and wellbeing of people displaced by and living around palm oil plantations. These violations impact entire families and communities. However, not enough attention has been paid to how new dynamics, caused by the palm oil industry, have deepened gender inequalities and how the destruction of the natural environment and rights violations by the palm oil industry have hit women hardest. Women are experiencing deteriorating living conditions, increased workloads and destroyed livelihoods. On top of that, women also face increased levels of gender-based and sexual violence while being at the forefront of defending their own and their communities’ rights.
This report is a result of the collective work of ActionAid Netherlands and ActionAid Guatemala based on research conducted by Profundo. The testimonies presented here were compiled from interviews with Guatemalan women and other members of indigenous communities affected by palm oil production destined for the Dutch market via the Port of Rotterdam. The interviews were conducted between 2018 and mid-2020.