Women are an important agent of small-scale fisheries/aquaculture where they accomplish different tasks from pre-harvesting operation to first sale and administration. Post-harvest handling, processing and sale are often under the responsibility of women. In capture fisheries, women are mainly involved in harvesting fish, shellfish and others species on or near to the shore. They rarely use boats because is requires investments and access to credit that is not so easy for them to acquire. There are also cultural barriers as well as legal barriers for access to resources. But this can be different from place to place. In some West African countries women are often boat owners besides being the main vendors of fish. Women participation in production is more important in inland fisheries and aquaculture than in marine fisheries. In poverty and subsistence contexts, women go fishing to sustain their livelihoods and for food security.
Women involvement in fisheries is poorly documented in statistics as their contribution is most often not recognized economically and administratively. According to FAO (State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture, 2012) women represent 50% of the workforce in inland fisheries and 60% of seafood is marketed by women in Asia and West Africa. SOFIA 2016 states that “it is estimated that women account for more than 19% of all people directly engaged in fisheries and aquaculture primary sector in 2014”. And among them, a vast majority if not all, is found in small-scale fisheries (SSF). But, because of the lack of recognition of their role and because of gender related inequality and inequity that prevail in society, their needs are far from being addressed and are insufficiently studied. The cluster ‘Women and Gender’ aims at filling this knowledge gap and addressing the issue at the policy level.
The Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines) is the first international document recognizing women contribution in fisheries and calling for Gender equity and equality. Gender equity and equality is the fourth guiding principle of the SSF Guidelines. The inclusion of gender equity and equality in the guidelines is important and the cluster ‘Women and Gender’ is aiming to contribute to the implementation process of the SSF Guidelines by collecting examples from around the world about women equity and equality in SSF, identifying barriers, challenges and opportunities in such a way to highlight the approaches that can be used to implement gender equity and equality.
We are currently documenting women and gender issues by gathering and questioning knowledge on gender relations in SSF in different parts of the world through an online survey. For more information about the survey and other ways to participate in the cluster, see the “How to contribute” section below.
1. To document the status of women and gender issues in SSF in different contexts
2. To encourage women and gender research and international publications
3. To build on the SSF guidelines to develop a policy agenda dedicated to women and gender
– Recognition of and opportunities for fisheries labor and capacity development (access to training, technology, credit,…)
– Human rights, equity and equality: women and access to resources, women and sea tenure, women and access to markets and marketing resources
– Women well-being: education, food security, occupational safety and health, violence and women in fisheries
– Women and governance: women participation in the decision making process related to resources management, establishment of women’s autonomous organizations (role, actions, limits and opportunities)
– Gender sensitive public policies (recognition and inclusion of women needs and gender equity and equality related issues)
– Women’s responses to extreme events and environmental changes
1. Write a landmark paper on women and gender in SSF reviewing available quantitative data to document the importance of women in fisheries and providing a meta/cross-cutting analysis on issues of interest, making use of available material from case-studies.
2. Publish internationally as much as possible of available ‘stories’ about women and gender in SSF reflecting on key issues.
3. Develop a policy agenda for women and gender in SSF building on SSF Guidelines
|Timeline / Work plan||
1. Collection of stories from available documentation (templates to be provided)
2. Writing of the keynote paper
3. Publication of new research, cases-studies
4. Publication of policy agenda
|How to contribute||
4. Write cases you know from past or present research and submit it using the online form
5. Encourage colleagues to contribute information
6. Suggest other ideas and deliverables that you would like to see in the cluster
7. Complete the SSF profile in ISSF either online or use the fillable form and email it to email@example.com. We don’t expect that you will have all the required information. Please consult colleagues or literature as necessary.
Katia Frangoudes, Université de Bretagne Occidentale (UBO), France
Siri Gerrard, The Arctic University of Norway (UiT), Norway
Danika Kleiber, Pacific Island Fisheries Sciences Centre, Joint Institute for Marine Atmosphere Research, Honolulu, USA