Gender refers to the economic, political and cultural attributes associated with being a man or a woman. These attributes vary between and within countries and can change over time. Gender roles are the socially defined tasks, responsibilities and behaviors that are considered appropriate for women and men in a particular community. It is important to understand the complexity of gender roles as this results in identifying opportunities for improving forest management and for building greater equity. Overlooking gender differences can result in incorrect assessments of the tradeoffs and effects of policies on forest communities.