2019 International Women’s Day

This year’s International Women’s Day, March 8, is run under the theme ‘Think equal, build smart, innovate for change. The theme focuses on innovative ways for advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women, particularly in the areas of social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure.

The achievement of the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requires transformative shifts, integrated approaches and new solutions, particularly when it comes to advancing gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. Now more than ever, innovative approaches that disrupt ‘business as usual’ are central to removing structural barriers and ensuring that no woman and no girl is left behind.

2019 International Women’s Day will be highlighted around the globe through rallies, marches, film festivals, art performances, panel discussions, social media activities and many other events. Here at TBTI, we're marking this day by bringing attention to gender equality and equity in small-scale fisheries. 

Women everywhere in small-scale fisheries

Women perform different tasks along the value chain, including pre-harvesting operation, all the way up to first sale and administration. Indeed, post-harvest handling, processing and trading are often the responsibility of women.

Women represent about 19 percent of all the people directly engaged in the fisheries and aquaculture [1] and about 50 percent of the workforce in inland fisheries [2]. These percentages are even higher when taking into consideration the secondary sector. In terms of small-scale fisheries, there is no other place where women play more role than in this sector.

However, women’s involvement in fisheries is poorly documented and their contribution is, for the most part, not fully recognized. Due to a lack of recognition of their role and because of gender-related inequality and inequity that prevail in society, women needs are still not being properly addressed.

The good new is that recent years have seen an increased recognition of the multiple roles and vital contributions of women in small-scale fisheries. The endorsement of the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines) in 2014, provided a much needed push forward for the recognition of women’s contribution in fisheries. Just as importantly, it brought to the forefront the issues of gender equity and equality.

To find out more about gender equality and equity within the context of the SSF Guidelines, CLICK HERE.

These are our stories

For this International Woman's Day, we have compiled a number of short stories from TBTI members about women in small-scale fisheries. These excerpts provide intriguing glimpses into what it's like to be a woman in small-scale fisheries today, as well as what it's like to be a woman studying small-scale fishing-women and men.

Some of these stories might inspire you while some paint a troubling picture of marginalization and injustice faced by small-scale fishing women. Ultimately, they all call on us to take action and be part of building a just & equitable small-scale fishing sector.

Here are just few of the stories. To see more, CLICK HERE. 

"I love fishing": a story about Zubaida Ani from Teluk Bahang Kampung village, Penang, Malaysia.

Broken systema story about Fatiema Poppie Kok, a fisherwoman from Ocean View, South Africa and her struggle for accessing the fishing rights.

#BalanceForBetter: opening spaces for girls and women to participate in fishing in Newfoundland, Canada.

You will not regret it!: inspiring women to pursue careers in research and academic careers.

How do we open these spaces so that the voices of women’s lived experience can become part of the decision-making processes? So that girls and women can have more choice about how they want to participate in the activity of fishing? We start one girl, one program, one place at a time! And it grows! [Kimberly Orren - a founder & volunteer project manager of Fishing for Success.]



  1. FAO (2016). The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture: Contributing to food security and nutrition for all. Rome: FAO. Retrieved from http://www.fao.org/3/a-i5555e.pdf.
  2. FAO (2012). The state of the world fisheries and aquaculture 2012. Rome: FAO. Retrieved from http://www.fao.org/3/a-i2727e.pdf