Discover our new Women in Aquaculture Profile

Difficult working conditions: women bending over and sitting submerged in water for long periods tying seaweed to farm stakes, Zanzibar. Photo: Flower Msuya

If you are looking for a readable, succinct and authoritative overview on women in aquaculture, then you may appreciate the new Profile on Women in Aquaculture by Cecile Brugere and Meryl Williams. This Profile was developed with the collaboration of Aquaculture without Frontiers Australia, support from Skretting Australia, and subjected to a review by peers. It is now the 3rd Discover GAF Profile put out by the Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries Section of the Asian Fisheries Society (see also Gleaning by Danika Kleiber, and Women divers by Enrique Alonso-Población).

The Profile makes the case that women’s opportunities in aquaculture have not kept pace with the rapid growth of the sector. Reliable sex-disaggregated statistics are missing for aquaculture, and most sectoral policies are gender-blind. To achieve gender equality and empower women, the aquaculture sector has to mainstream gender targets in all its certification, accreditation, and labour policies and practices.

“Gender equality is in the detail”: Examining gender issues in aquaculture requires delving into the specificities of both the sector and women’s involvement in it. Research can shed light on what makes women lose (or retain) control over their activities as the scale, intensity and economics of aquaculture production grows. On small scale farms, women and men frequently work together, carrying out complementary activities. In medium and industrial scale aquaculture, women are at the lower end of the pay scale or unpaid. As production intensifies, women’s engagement drops. They rarely become managers, although they are capable of rising to this level. Women are the bulk of workers in post-harvest and product transformation activities.

Today, more women are graduating in aquaculture from higher education institutes and gender parity has been achieved in some cases. More women are entering highly skilled employment.

Aquaculture can empower women, and lead to better household food security and nutrition, but these benefits are not automatic.

Aquaculture practitioners need good technical instruments for gender-responsive planning, indicators of progress, training and communications.

Check out and download the Profile of Women in Aquaculture here.

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