Author Archives: genderaquafish

Women’s voices, gender equity champions and a gender lens all matter – converging messages from GAF6

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A Thai woman gets ready to process threadfin salmon for the market. Photo: Supaporn Anuchiracheeva, the Small-scale Fishers and Organic Fisheries Products Project.

In bold outline, the take home messages from the GAF6 full report – Engendering Security in Fisheries and Aquaculture – converge on the following: women’s voices and gender equity champions  can make a real difference; and a gender lens lets us see inequalities and how to remedy them. These points were woven through the 68 rich and varied presentations, panels, posters and workshops of GAF6. Read the full report here, see the take home messages below.

  • Participants were urged to focus on gender relationships, not simply roles, and on intersectionality, as women’s and men’s lives were interconnected and gender interacted with other systems in society, e.g., cultural, political and economic structures.
  • The 2014 Small-Scale Fisheries Voluntary Guidelines are opening up new policy space on gender equality. Yet, in implementing the Guidelines, women have been deterred from taking part in decision-making, are invisible in most fisheries statistics and their interests excluded from national policies – unless NGOs and women’s groups have advocated for inclusion. Even when women’s needs are recognized, money and expertise may not have been allocated. In a hopeful sign, some recent projects are committed to gender equality.
  • Aquaculture is gendered. Gender roles and relationships in aquaculture follow typical social patterns of ownership, rights and power. Unless they break out as entrepreneurs, women are positioned in small-scale, near-home, and low technology aquaculture, or as low-paid labour in medium and industrial scale operations. Nevertheless, small-scale household aquaculture can fulfill important subsistence roles and be improved to better satisfy food security and nutrition.
  • A persistent thread on fair livelihoods in fish value chains was that gender equality and equity must be fought for, and protected by active measures, rather than expecting it to happen through a sense of natural justice.
  • Using a gender lens brings deeper understanding of climate and disaster adaptation. Flexibility, versatility and agency are keys to people’s resilience. Gender-blind efforts to help people adapt should always be challenged.
  • Real progress in securing gender equality will not be achieved unless social norms are transformed.

Read the whole GAF6 report here – Link

Women make the (shell) money but rarely the decisions in fisheries

iifetlogonew1xThe outcomes (see report) of the Special Session and other presentations on gender at IIFET-2016 (International Institute for Fisheries Economics and Trade) showed that gender research is a promising new frontier in fisheries and aquaculture economics. From the household to the value chain, from Malaita in the Solomon Islands where women make the famous shell money sold now in the marketplace to filleting fish in Mexico and global fisheries performance indicator systems, fish sector work, power and decision making is gendered. Unlike factors such as input technology, fisheries management policy and trade subsidies, economists have paid little attention to modelling gender as a factor in fisheries and aquaculture. Sometimes this gap is blamed on missing sex-disaggregated data, and certainly many of the 14 presentations and discussions on gender at IIFET-2016 highlighted that sex-disaggregated data and indicators must be improved.

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L. to R.: Kate Barclay, Shyam Salim and Malasri Khumsri, panelists at the IIFET-2016 Special Session on “Gender Research as a New Frontier in Fisheries and Aquaculture: In the Footsteps of Rosemary Firth.”

But the dearth of gender economics studies in fisheries and aquaculture go well beyond this. The presenters on gender at IIFET-2016 used whatever information they could collect from formal statistical data and their own projects. Experts presented gender analyses of value chains in Africa (Malawi and Nigeria), Asia (Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand), North America (Mexico) and the Pacific (Solomon Islands), and global efforts on fisheries performance indicators and data sets.

The presenters and participants discussed how, in these value chains, women are critical to adding value to fish, although within the household and society, ultimately men still make most of the key household decisions, sometimes despite interventions that seek to empower women. The gender report concludes by making some suggestions to IIFET in its future work on gender in fisheries economics and trade.

Read the overview report of the IIFET gender sessions and presentations here. The report contains links to most of the presentations/papers.

The gender theme was made possible through grants and support from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the USA, the World Bank, IIFET, and all the presenters.

Join GAFS!

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Join the new Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries Section of the Asian Fisheries Society and become part of a community of people committed to equitable and effective cooperation in research and practice on gender in aquaculture and fisheries issues!

We are proud to launch the Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries Section (GAFS) of the Asian Fisheries Society (AFS). This is the first formal gender section ever to be created in a professional fisheries or aquaculture society and is the culmination of over 20 years of developments within AFS in addressing women and gender in fisheries and aquaculture. The fundamentals of GAFS have been developed by two teams of volunteers from among the attendees at GAF5 and GAF6 who we gratefully acknowledge.

The objectives of GAFS are to promote equitable and effective cooperation among scientists/academics, technicians, fisheries officers and non-governmental organization experts involved in issues related to gender in fisheries and aquaculture so as to advance research and practice in Asia-Pacific and other regions of the world. For more detail see the full objectives and mechanisms.

Wherever you come from, we welcome your membership in GAFS. If you join before the end of 2017, you can become a Founding Member of the AFS Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries Section (GAFS). Here is how to join.

You can become a GAFS member through either of two pathways.

The first pathway is for existing AFS members in good standing who are interested in advancing the GAFS objectives. For AFS members to become a GAFS member, simply send a short message indicating you wish to join GAFS to the AFS Executive Officer –info@asianfisheriessociety.org. Your AFS membership details will be amended to include membership of GAFS.

The second pathway if you are currently not an AFS member. In this case, you can easily join AFS by visiting the membership page and joining AFS. On joining, you will be asked to indicate which sections or branches of AFS you wish to join, including GAFS.

Generous member discounts at AFS and GAFS events such as the triennial aquaculture and fisheries forums and other AFS conferences, workshops and forums. What you will get from becoming a member of GAFS:

  • Opportunity to take a leadership role by nominating for the GAFS Executive Committee
  • Voting rights in electing GAFS, and AFS officers
  • Chance to contribute to and receive periodic the GAFS Newsletter, AFS Newsletter, special interest news and information on gender in aquaculture and fisheries, including through social media
  • Access to a strong, participatory community of like-minded people committed to the objectives of GAFS and AFS, including senior experts and mentors
  • Ability to advance research and practice in gender and women’s issues in aquaculture and fisheries
  • Access to  with other like-minded organisations regionally and globally

WSI the new association for women in the seafood industry will be at the Icelandic Fisheries Fair

logo-wsiWSI Press release, Paris, Tuesday 24 January 2017

WSI, an international association for Women in the Seafood Industry was created in December 2016 by specialists at the cross-road between the seafood industry and gender issues. WSI’s goals are to highlight women’s contribution to the seafood industry, to raise awareness of gender issues within this industry and to promote professional equality between men and women.

The motivation to create WSI came from the growing recognition that although one in every two seafood workers is a woman, women are over-represented in lowest paid and lowest valued positions and very few at leadership positions. Women are essential contributors to this important food industry, but they remain invisible, including to policy makers. There is a need to increase awareness about their role in this industry and to recognise the value they bring.

While we acknowledge that much progress has been achieved, a lot remains to be done. Stories about women in the seafood industry are rarely told. WSI will operate as a sounding board to amplify women’s voice and help them gain visibility through practical projects.

WSI has chosen the World Seafood Congress 2017 and the Icelandic Fisheries Fair (10-15 September 2017) to make its first public appearance. “The choice for Iceland is two-fold: its fishing industry is very dynamic and the country is at the forefront when it comes to gender equality. At Icefair, the fisheries fair, WSI will disseminate this uncomplicated yet often untold story: women are essential workers in the seafood industry but they are often invisible.” Explains Marie Christine Monfort, WSI President and co-founder. This will be the very first time that a women’s association holds a stand at a professional fisheries fair.

Come and meet us at Icefair in Hall 1 Stand A70.

WSI, a not for profit association, is founded by Marie Christine Monfort and Pascale Baelde , two seafood professionals (based in France) supported by two gender specialists (based in Singapore and London). This new association has already received the backing of men and women seafood professionals from France, the UK, Norway, Egypt, Australia, United States.

More information is available on www.wsi-asso.org.
Contacts: contact@wsi-asso.org
Président WSI, Marie Christine Monfort Tél : +33 6 3262 2477
Director WSI, Pascale Baelde Tél : +33 6 2431 9515

MARE & Oceans Past: Proposal for gender panel

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Mariscodoras (shellfish gatherers) of Galicia. Photo: @AKTEA

For the 2017 MARE Conference 2017 (People & the Sea IXDealing with Maritime Mobilities), Katia Frangoudes and colleagues propose a panel – are you interested in taking part?

Date: 5-7 July, 2017, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Panel title: From Past to Present Gender/women relations within coastal and fisheries Communities

Panel proposal to the conference People and the Sea 9: dealing with maritime mobilities, Amsterdam 5-7 of July, 2017.

Panel Organise by Katia Frangoudes, Siri Gerrard, Danika Kleiber, Cristina Pita

Panel abstract:

The coastal areas and communities have experienced major changes over recent decades. Some are under pressure by the rapid development and urbanisation, industrialisation, climate change, mass tourism, etc. Others have suffered economic depression as the activities that traditionally sustained coastal communities become increasingly unsustainable. These changes had economic impacts on the fishing; aquaculture and others related activities and modified the social role within coastal societies, with new social organisations and cultural processes emerging in coastal areas.

Research on gender and gender relations, as well as on women, in fisheries and aquaculture and their role in communities is not abundant. And this despite the fact that change has impacted men and women differently, the construction of gender and gender relations has consequences on the division of labour in fisheries, in coastal communities and also in the relationships in the community.

The interconnection between gender relations, work and community can include many topics and can vary from place to place dependent on the history, “materialities”, social and cultural conditions. Coastal and gender studies can be valuable for research, and for the economic and social development of coastal communities, and fishery related activities and work. So gender relations and communities can be studied in many ways, the propose panel aims to bring together scientists, practitioners, .working on the following themes: gender migration/immigration, changes in job opportunities (eg. paid and unpaid contribution of women in fisheries and aquaculture), women’s organisations and participation in the public sphere, property rights in fisheries and aquaculture, gender and climate changes, women’s capacity building, etc…

Note: The panel is organizing by the TBTI (Too Big to Ignore) cluster on women/gender in fisheries and aquaculture and the Working group Gendered Oceans Past Platform. If you wish to be part of this panel please send your send your abstract Katia Frangoudes Katia.Frangoudes@univ-brest.fr before the 27 of January. We need to know if we ask for one panel or more… in depends on the number of interested participants.

Economics, trade analysis of fish value chains lacking good gender information

The 2016 conference of the International Institute for Fisheries Economics and Trade addressed how to incorporate the gender dimension into fish value chain analysis, especially when very limited gender information is available. The report of the gender sessions are now online.

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Woman at Tambak Lorok, Central Jawa, Indonesia, brings two yellowfin tuna ashore. Photo: Zahrah Izzaturrahim.

The 14 presentations and discussions on gender at IIFET-2016 highlighted that sex-disaggregated data and indicators must be improved. Using whatever information they could collect, experts presented gender analyses of value chains in Africa (Malawi and Nigeria), Asia (Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand), North America (Mexico) and the Pacific (Solomon Islands), and global efforts on fisheries performance indicators and data sets. The presenters and participants discussed how, in these value chains, women are critical to adding value to fish, although within the household and society, ultimately men still make most of the key household decisions, sometimes despite interventions that seek to empower women. The gender report concludes by making some suggestions to IIFET in its future work on gender in fisheries economics and trade.

Read more the full report on the gender papers at IIFET-2016 here.

First UNEP report on Gender and the Environment

2016-ggeoThe United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has released the 2016 Global Gender and Environment Outlook report.

This first ever such report uses a drivers-pressures-states-impacts-responses approach to summarise available information and make an attempt to address four policy questions:

  • What social forces are producing the changes seen in  the environment, and are they gender-dependent?
  • What are the large-scale consequences of ongoing environmental changes for social systems and human security, and are these consequences gender-differentiated?
  • What do future projections and outlooks look like, are they gender-differentiated, and will there be different outcomes for women and men?
  • What actions could be taken for a more sustainable future that would position women and men as equal agents in taking such actions, and which socio-economic factors could shape different outcomes and responses for women and men?

The introductory section -“The gender-environment nexus: Towards more equitable and inclusive forms of sustainability” – presents interesting material on why the report is needed in the face of economic growth and its impacts on the environment and natural resources, many of which are gendered. A brief history of the environmental feminist movement is covered, from the publication of Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” to recent local-led conservation initiatives. The report was made possible and encouraged by a gradual infiltration of gender equality articles in major global environment, development and climate instruments and pledges. It stresses the still under-representation of women in environment positions of power and calls for much better collection of sex-disaggregated information. The priority areas identified miss reference to those in fisheries and aquaculture, focusing instead on agriculture, land, water and climate change. This reflects the lack of substantive work done in the aquatic resources, but also to some extent the incompleteness of the Outlook report on aquatic resource themes.

One of the sections of the Outlook report covers marine and coastal communities and ecosystems, looking at “what we take out”: fish, fishing and livelihoods, and “what we put in”: contaminants and pollutants. Although this section is not particularly current, comprehensive or, in some cases, nuanced, in its drafting, it does provide useful material and it is valuable to have the Outlook report recognize the marine part of the aquatic realm, even if this is not reflected in the opening essay. Here are the Key Messages highlighted in the this part of the report:

  • Women and men have common but differentiated responsibilities in the fishing sector. Fishing is frequently portrayed as a male domain, but when the whole fishing cycle is taken into account, actually some 47% of the workforce is female.
  • Fishing both reflects and defines gender boundaries; men are conventionally defined as “fishers”, while women’s activities in the sector are too often overlooked in official programmes, data collection and support.
  • Environmental change and damage to marine systems have gendered impacts, and women and men experience climate disruptions differently. Climate change is especially threatening to coastal communities and fishing livelihoods. “Downstream” effects on fishing sector activities such as post-harvest work are often not taken into account.
  • Health impacts are gender-differentiated. For example, many marine contaminants are particularly dangerous for foetal development. Chemical contaminants in ocean systems bioaccumulate, threatening human health and the health of marine organisms.
  • As fisheries collapse globally and fish become scarce locally, many women have to turn to transactional sex to bridge the scarcity gap.
  • Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing relies on trafficked, indentured and slave labour, mostly by men.
  • Evidence suggests that fisheries management improves when women are actively involved.

The report can be downloaded at this link.