Women & Gender

“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 calling for contributions for a special issue on Women and gender in fishery-related work and communities. In addition, we are 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 call for contribution, 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

Research questions

– 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

1. Sign up for the cluster

2. Contribute to a Special Issue on “Women and gender in fishery-related work and communities”

3. Complete a survey on Women & Gender in Small-Scale Fisheries

4. Participate in the panel discussion at the MARE Conference in 2017. [CLOSED]

5. Write cases you know from past or present research and submit it using the online form

6. Encourage colleagues to contribute information

7. Suggest other ideas and deliverables that you would like to see in the cluster

8. Complete the SSF profile in ISSF either online or use the  fillable form and email it to toobigtoignore@mun.ca. We don’t expect that you will have all the required information. Please consult colleagues or literature as necessary.

Cluster coordinators

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

Cluster members
Name Affiliation Country
A., Jose Plymouth Marine Laboratory UK
Alencar, Edna Ferreira Universidade Federal do Pará Brazil
Alam, Md Mahbub Marine Fisheries Academy, Ministry of Fisheries & Livestock Bangladesh
Assem, Sylvia Mamle University of Ghana Ghana
Azmi Mohamed Ibrahim, Fazeeha Norwegian University of Science and Technology Norway
Bailly , Denis University of Brest France
Bastian, Liliana University of Washington USA
Beitl, Christine University of Maine USA
Berkes, Fikret University of Manitoba Canada
Biswal, Rajib Natural Resources Institute Canada
Bonsu, Prince Owusu Erasmus Mundus Course on Maritime Spatial Planning Portugal
Brito-Millan, Marlene Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD USA
Cakacaka, Akuila Institute of Tropical Marine Research Germany
Cavaco, Patricia Sustainability Consultant Portugal
Claussen, Julie University of Illinois USA
Cohen, Philippa WorldFish Australia
Cruz-Torres, Maria Arizona State University USA
Dao, Nga York University Canada
de la Torre-Castro, Maricela Stockholm University Sweden
Delaney, Alyne Aalborg University Denmark
Ekpe, Sonigitu Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Nigeria
Fakoya, Kafayat Lagos State University, OJO Nigeria
Febri, Suri Purnama Samudra University, Faculty of Agriculture Indonesia
Ferguson, Caroline Stanford University, E-IPER USA
Fiorella, Katie Cornell University USA
Gabriel, Oyediji Lagos State University Nigeria
Garside, Ruth University of Exeter Medical School UK
Gaynor, Amanda Rare USA
Gee, Jennifer FAI Italy
Ginindza, Joseph University of the Western Cape South Africa
Goetting, Kathryn Oregon State University USA
Gunakar, Dr. S Pompei College, Aikala India
Gustavsson, Madeleine University of Liverpool UK
Hapke, Holly East Carolina University USA
Harper, Sarah University of British Columbia Canada
Hellebrandt, Luceni Federal University of Santa Catarina Brazil
Heyde, Jill Lestari Sustainable Development Consultants Germany
Ibrahim, Fazeeha NTNU, Department of Geography Norway
Ichien, Stephanie Oregon State University USA
Jatoi, Qamer Uddin University of Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa Pakistan
Jayasinghe, Anuradhj Post graduate student Sri Lanka
Jouanneau, Charlène Charlène Jouanneau Consultant France
Kaeworuratchadusorn, Pattaratjit SEAFDEC Thailand
Kamrani, Ehsan University of Hormozgan,Faculty of marine sciences and Technologies, Fisheries department Iran
Kasuti, Joseph State department of fisheries and the blue economy Kenya
Khan, Safayet BRAC Bangladesh
Koralagama, Dilanthi University of Ruhuna Sri Lanka
Kusakabe, Kyoko Asian Institute of Technology Thailand
Lau, Jacqueline ARC Centre for Excellece in Coral Reef Studies Australia
Lavoie, Anna Colorado State University USA
Lawson, Elaine Institute for Environment and Sanitation Studies, University of Ghana, Legon Ghana
Lokuge, Gayathri Wageningen University The Netherlands
Marjadi, Meghna The Ohio State University USA
Marques, Elineide UFT Brazil
Mascarell, Yesmina IGIC Research Institute, UPV Spain
McConney, Patrick University of the West Indies Barbados
McDougall, Cynthia WorldFish Malaysia
McGreavy, Bridie University of Maine USA
Mhlanga, Wilson Department of Environment Science Bindura University of Science Education Zimbabwe
Miller, Alice International Pole & Line Foundation UK
Modino Raquel University of La Laguna Spain
Mozumder, Mohammad Finland
Msomphora, Mbachi UiT the Arctic University of Norway Norway
Nauen, Cornelia Mundus maris - Sciences and Arts for Sustainability Belgium
Nembhard, Nadine CNFO Belize
Nuno, Ana University of Exeter UK
Pedroza-Gutiérrez, Carmen UNAM Mexico
Pena, Maria Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies (CERMES) Barbados
Phillips, Terrence Caribbean Natural Resources Institute Trinidad and Tobago
Ragusa, Gianluca International Independent consultant - Fisheries and aquaculture specialist Italy
Rashdi, Khalfan Al Directorate General of Fisheries Research Oman
Rainville, Tiffanie World Fisheries Trust- Amazon Fish for Food project Bolivia
Rodriguez, Marita NGOs for Fisheries reform (NFR-Philippines) Philippines
Salmi, Pekka Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) Findland
Satapornvanit, Arlene Nietes USAID Oceans and Fisheries Partnership Thailand
Soejima, Kumi National Fisheries University Japan
Sokrith, Heng Conservation International Cambodia
Stacey, Natasha Charles Darwin University Australia
Suebpala, Wichin Ramkhamhaeng University Thailand
Soares, Lisa University of Warwick UK
Solari, Natasha Stellenbosch University South Africa
Taiwo, Ganzallo Sylvester Lagos State University Nigeria
Thigale, Durga UNDP and Mangrove Cell, Maharashtra India
Torre, Jorge Comunidad y Biodiversidad, A.C. (COBI) Mexico
Ünal, Vahdet Ege University, Faculty of Fisheries Turkey
Urteaga, Jose E-IPER / Stanford University Nicaragua
van der Ploeg, Jan WorldFish Solomon Islands
Wallemacq, Florence FAO Mauritius
Weeratunge, Nireka International Centre for Ethnic Studies Sri Lanka
Whitty, Tara Small-scale and Artisanal Fisheries Research Network, Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation USA
Wise, Sarah AFSC, NOAA USA
Yingst, Alexandra University Centre of the Westfjords Iceland
Zhao, Lily University of Washington USA