Category Archives: women divers

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

“The Long Journey to Gender Equality” – GAF5 Volume published

Kerala fisher couple with cast net and scoop net. Photo: Sruthi P.

Kerala fisher couple with cast net and scoop net. Photo: Sruthi P.

We are delighted to announce the release of a Special Issue of Asian Fisheries Science journal, volume 29S, containing 12 papers, plus a guest editorial and other information based on GAF5 – the 5th Global Symposium on Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries (2014, Lucknow, India).

The Special Issue is titled “The Long Journey to Gender Equality” and contains many practical and theoretical insights. In the Guest Editorial, Dr Nikita Gopal and her co-editors conclude that the “regular GAF events of the Asian Fisheries Society … show that more and more researchers are interested in studying gender and fisheries/aquaculture, both from among the social scientists and fisheries biologists. Thus the GAF events create a unique forum for social and natural sciences to meet and discuss, which is often not the case in other disciplines.”

We hope you enjoy and find useful this wide range of papers covering such topics as the impacts of film-making on the empowerment of women divers in Timor Leste, to the roles of resident and non-resident women in Barotse Floodplain fisheries in Zambia and the intricacies of women’s fish marketing  relations in Bihar India and in Cambodia, plus much more.

Visit this page to gain an overview of the Special Issue and download the whole volume or individual papers. LINK

Congratulations to all the authors!

 

 

 

Discover-GAF is launched

Seaweed harvesters, Bharathinagar, Ramanathapuram, Tamil Nadu, India. Photo: Shilpi Sharma (courtesy of ICSF)

Seaweed harvesters, Bharathinagar, Ramanathapuram, Tamil Nadu, India. Photo: Shilpi Sharma (courtesy of ICSF)

To mark International Women’s Day 8 March 2016, Genderaquafish.org is very pleased to announce the launch of Discover-GAF, our new series of short overviews of topics and themes of relevance to gender in aquaculture and fisheries.  The overview articles are short and founded on deep knowledge. They are written by authors who have studied and thought about the topics. The articles are not comprehensive academic reviews, but they do provide a few key references that will start the reader who wants to go further on the track of deeper discovery.

Our first two articles are on “Gleaning” by Danika Kleiber and “Women Divers” by Enrique Alonso-Población. These articles address two iconic topics that are often overlooked as forms of fishing by women. To encourage more investigation of these topics, our authors also challenge researchers with questions requiring research.

BrotherSisterGleaningBilangbilangan,Bohol,Philippines,2011-DK

Brother and sister gleaning, Bilangbilangan, Bohol, Philippines, 2011. Photo: Danika Kleiber

The idea for a resource such as Discover-GAF was first conceived by Danika Kleiber and discussed at GAF5 in Lucknow, 2014. We have plans to eventually extend this series in many directions, including other parts of the fish supply chain, location specific overviews, themes such as governance and climate change.

We welcome your feedback, comments, corrections and offers to help write material and suggest topics for Discover-GAF. Please contact us on Email: genderaquafish@gmail.com

 

Women in aquaculture and fisheries at World Aquaculture 2015, Jeju, Korea

Group of presenters and attendees at WA2015 Women in Aquaculture and Fisheries Session. Photo: Roy Palmer, AwF.

Group of presenters and attendees at WA2015 Women in Aquaculture and Fisheries Session. Photo: Roy Palmer, AwF.

These reports on the Women in Aquaculture and Fishery Session at WA2015, held at the ICC Jeju, Korea, 27 May 2015, have been written by Jin Yeong Kim, Bibha Kumari and Jenny Cobcroft. Thanks also to Aquaculture without Frontiers (AwF) Women’s Network, World Aquaculture Society, Roy Palmer and all the presenters.

Women in Aquaculture and Fisheries Presentations

By Jin Yeong Kim and Bibha Kumari

The World Aquaculture 2015 (WA2015) session on Women in Aquaculture and Fisheries was held in the ICC Jeju, Korea, in Samda hall ‘A’ from 11:30 am to 17:10 pm and chaired by Jin Yeong Kim and Bibha Kumari. Seven oral presentations were made in the session, and, in relation to women’s labor, one oral presentation was made in the cage culture session and added to this summary. The session also held a panel discussion, led by Jennifer Cobcroft and followed this by the presentation of the awards WAS-APC/AwF Travel grants and AwF Woman of the Month by Mr. R. D. Palmer, President of AwF and World Aquaculture Society Director.

The main points from the presentations were as follows:

Haenyeo in Jeju. Photo: Hye-Kyung Choa.

Haenyeo in Jeju. Photo: Hye-Kyung Choa.

1. Hye-Kyung Choa (Korea) introduced Jeju’s unique culture of the haenyeo’s life using a short film on these female divers of Jeju Island who collect seafood and seaweed without using any breathing equipment. Although these women follow a lifelong profession that has endured and been supporting their families for many centuries, present haenyeo are no longer passing diving skills to the next generation. Recently challenges to the traditional haenyeo culture is how to manage marine resources and find effective ways to pass down their community culture.

2. Seungmok Ha (Korea) showed that site-specific MSY of turban shell harvesting by fisherwomen tended to be high where the biomass of the brown algal species was generally high. To understand the causes of the declining stock of turban shell, a long-term program is required to monitor the status of algal species and environmental and human factors that impact on them.

Haenyeo, Jeju. Source: Hye-Kyung Choa presentation.

Haenyeo, Jeju. Source: Hye-Kyung Choa presentation.

Jin Yeong Kim presenting. Photo: Roy Palmer.

Jin Yeong Kim presenting. Photo: Roy Palmer.

3. Jin Yeong Kim (Korea)  summarized recent changes for fisherwomen’s contribution and to the small scale fisheries in Korea. It is a commonly emerging trend in the coastal long line, jigging and gill drift net fisheries of married fisher couples for husbands to drive a boat and operate fishing gear and for wives to support the netting and collecting of products on board on the fishing grounds. Traditionally, women did not work on the boats. Issues were concentrated on the women’s new perspectives on the environmental, social, economic and livelihood changes from a fishing community.

4. Arlene Satapornvanit (NACA)  explained the assessment of gender in aquaculture in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Vietnam under the MARKET project. Insufficient gender/sex-disaggregated data are available in aquaculture in these countries. Participation exist in varying degrees but very few women are in top positions. Therefore detailed research planning & design with statistics and data collections are needed. Information exchange among countries and practitioners, including curriculum and training development will be helpful to strengthen capacities.

Paul Liew, Bibha Kumari, Arlene Satapornvit, Roy Palmer at WA2015. Photo: Roy Palmer, AwF.

Paul Liew, Bibha Kumari, Arlene Satapornvit, Roy Palmer at WA2015. Photo: Roy Palmer, AwF.

5. Arlene Satapornvanit (NACA)  also explained women’s involvement in selected aquaculture value chains in three countries vis. Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam, to identify and analyze the role and activities of women and men in the grow-out stage of aquaculture. In the case studies, she summarized, for a few women, their status apart from their families, the social and economic problems they face, and how they are successful in aquaculture in these countries.

6. Zumilah Zainalaludin (Malaysia)  expressed the need for the active involvement of women in aquaculture for future family wellbeing. For this there should be research networking for gender analysis based on activities for good aquaculture practices. She proposed a policy and program to the government that would enhance the development of the aquaculture industry. Sharing of gender training materials is also important.

7. T. V. Anna Mercy (India)  emphasized that engagement of women in ornamental fish culture would help the rural poor to earn a regular income and thus to remove the evils of poverty. Women entrepreneurs are now aware of the schemes for the promotion of ornamental fish culture in India. Thewomen can play a predominant role in ornamental fish culture. Successful Women could also manage both the household activities and the entrepreneurship together.

8. Young-Jin Park (Korea)  described abalone sea cage culture trends and women’s role in the related job sector in the largest abalone growing area of Korea, Wando, Jeonnam Province in the southwestern area of Korea. In order to empower women, information sharing, and a stable living environment, the women asked for the support of the government for the construction of a social infrastructure, such as, women only cultural lectures, community activities, technical training program, child care facilities, pediatrics, entertainment complex etc.

Panel session report 

by Dr Jennifer Cobcroft

The panel session commenced with Dr. Bibha Kumari summarizing the earlier presentations, especially for the benefit of those who could not attend the whole session.

A series of questions was asked of the panel members, with a focus on the WAS-APC/AwF travel award winners (Nantaporn Sutthi, Gladys Ludevese Pascual, Mya ZinOo), and then opened for a group discussion with the audience.

1. What do you see as the biggest challenge for women in aquaculture in your country?

Gladys indicated that traditionally women in the Philippines were focused on household tasks, but are more educated now and wanting to get out into the workforce.

Mya Zin discussed education, investment and cultural issues that are barriers to women being involved in aquaculture in Myanmar.
Nantaporn suggested that women in Thailand have more power in business now.

A comment from a male hatchery director from Indonesia was that there are many small hatcheries and the majority of their staff are women, largely because of their valued attention to detail. He noted that working in aquaculture grow out and in the field is problematic as these are both traditionally a “man’s world”.

The group discussed the need for women-oriented equipment to encourage their participation in different sectors. We also noted the need for us as individuals to change our mindset in relation to the role that we as women can play, and the way that we see other women in industry.

Our role is to encourage leadership skills in more women; leading by example and encouraging others.

2. What benefit would arise for the aquaculture industry by changing the situation, and if the challenge for women was overcome?

We noted that women tend to be more creative, and with education can complement the activities of men in aquaculture. The group discussed that through increased participation by women in aquaculture, production volume and efficiency could be increased. This would also improve the security of household and community nutrition. In Myanmar, the opportunity for internships has been provided by the USAID grant, allowing women to engage with industry and better understand opportunities and pathways to employment outside the university sector, which is where they traditionally stay in employment, if they stay in fisheries and aquaculture. Another of the men in the audience indicated that in Western culture, if more women become involved in the industry, they will promote seafood, leading to increased consumption – which is good for community nutrition and seafood sales. The group also discussed the need for a change in mindset of employers, across many cultures and countries, to consider the skills and value that women can bring to the industry. An observation from the Philippines was that about 10 years ago there was a difference in the proportion of women reaching higher management levels, with men and women both represented at middle management, but men being promoted to senior levels even when the women may be more competent. It was considered that this situation has improved, however the ‘glass ceiling’ still exists for many women.

3. What potential solutions do you see to addressing the challenge?

One proposed solution was access to investment funds and bank funding, promoting programs for women. Mobilizing investment through women was considered a likely way to increase aquaculture production.

Other discussion

One participant working with indigenous women in the Northern Territory in Australia asked the group for suggestions on how to encourage a balance for women who may be interested in fisheries and aquaculture. The women have many other cultural roles and they cannot always find time to engage in development programs. She also commented that payment or potential income from a new industry is not a primary motivator, and that cultural roles take precedence. This seems an area needing more discussion and insights from other researchers and development project leaders, specifically around how to find the right projects/opportunities and motivate engagement.

One academic reported on a study of her students over 20 years in the Philippines, and reported that in that time less than 1% of women trained in aquaculture were employed in aquaculture. It was suggested that while the current generation is suffering from differences in early childhood (expectations and roles being different according to gender), that this situation is now improving.

The Panel Discussion was then followed by the presentation of the awards by Mr. R. D. Palmer (AwF):

1. WAS-APC/AwF travel grants for 2 students and 1 senior category. They are Nantaporn Sutthi, Gladys Ludevese Pascual, Mya Zin Oo respectively.

2. AwF for Women of the Month Awardees (see AwF for details)

  • Dr Jennifer Cobcroft – December 2014
  • Dr T.V. Anna Mercy – February 2015
  • May Myat Noe Lwin – March 2015
  • Dr. Flower Ezekiel Msuya – April 2015 (Was not present)
  • Ass Professor Arlyn Mandas – May 2015

A vote of thanks for all for their contributions was given by Dr. Jin Yeong Kim.

Report recommends integrating fish into food security and nutrition


HLPE-Report-7_Cover-smA new report, Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture for Food Security and Nutrition, has provided probably “the most comprehensive recent attempt to review and synthesize the current knowledge” said Dr Christophe Béné. Dr Béné, of the Institute of Development Studies, chaired the team of the High Level Panel of Experts (HLPE) on Food Security and Nutrition of the Committee on World Food Security that produced the report.

The report recommends that fish need to be fully integrated into all aspects of food security and nutrition policies and programmes. It pays special attention to all dimensions of food security and nutrition and promotes small-scale production and local arrangements, as local markets, e.g. for procuring school meals, and other policy tools, including nutrition education and gender equality.

The report is dedicated to Chandrika Sharma who was one of the peer reviewers of the report.

HLPE Team for fish, food security and nutrition report. Left to right: Gro-Ingunn Hemre, Modadugu V. Gupta, Moenieba Isaacs, Chris Béné, Meryl Williams, Ningsheng Yang and Vincent Gitz (Secretary)

HLPE Team for fish, food security and nutrition report. Left to right: Gro-Ingunn Hemre, Modadugu V. Gupta, Moenieba Isaacs, Chris Béné, Meryl Williams, Ningsheng Yang and Vincent Gitz (Secretary)

Download the report here

Extract of the FOREWORD by Per Pinstrup-Andersen, Chair of HLPE Steering Committee

This report addresses a frequently overlooked but extremely important part of world food and nutrition security: the role and importance of fish in seeking food and nutrition security for all. Fisheries and aquaculture have often been arbitrarily separated from other parts of the food and agricultural systems in food security studies, debates and policy-making. I applaud the Committee on World Food Security for its decision to bring fisheries and aquaculture fully into the debate about food and nutrition security.

The report presents a synthesis of existing evidence regarding the complex pathways between fisheries and aquaculture and food and nutrition security, including the environmental, economic and social dimensions, as well as issues related to governance. It provides insights on what needs to be done to achieve sustainable fisheries and aquaculture in order to strengthen their positive impact on food and nutrition security.

The ambition of this compact yet comprehensive report is to help the international community to share and understand the wide spectrum of issues that make fisheries and aquaculture such an important part of efforts to assure food security for all.

The High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) was created in 2010 to provide the United Nations’ Committee on World Food Security (CFS) with evidence-based and policy-oriented analysis to underpin policy debates and policy formulation. While specific policy interventions should be based on context-specific understanding, HLPE reports provide evidence relevant to the diversity of contexts, with recommendations aiming to be useful to guide context-specific policy interventions.

The main findings of the report cover the themes:

  • Fish as a critical food source
  • Fish has received little attention in food security and nutrition strategies
  • Risks and pressures affecting the world fisheries
  • Opportunities and challenges in aquaculture
  • Small vs large scale fishing operations
  • Unsettled debates on fish trade
  • Social protection and labour rights
  • Gender equity
  • Governance

In the Executive Summary, the report says the following on Gender Equity (paras 27-29; the body of the report contains more detail)

  • 27. The first comprehensive attempt to estimate the number of fish workers found that 56 million, near half of the 120 million people who work in the capture fisheries sector and its supply chains, are women. This is essentially due to the very high number of female workers engaged in fish processing (including in processing factories) and in (informal) small-scale fish trading operations. However, small-scale fisheries and supply-chain jobs outside production are not well recorded, so the actual number of women may be higher. Comparable estimates are not yet available for the 38 million aquaculture sector workers.
  • 28. Gender, along with intersectional factors (such as economic class, ethnic group, age or religion), is a key determinant of the many different ways by which fisheries and aquaculture affect food security and nutrition outcomes, availability, access, stability and diet adequacy, for the population groups directly involved in fish production and supply chains, but also beyond.
  • 29. Men are dominant in direct production work in fisheries and aquaculture. Much of women’s work, such as gleaning, diving, post-harvest processing and vending, is not recognized or not well recorded, despite its economic and other contributions. Gender disaggregated data are not routinely collected and, partly as a result of this, little policy attention is given to women and to the gender dimension of the sector.

In the Recommendations, item 7 addressed Gender Equity with the following recommendation (7)

States should

  • 7a) Ensure that their aquaculture and fisheries policies and interventions do not create negative impacts on women and encourage gender equality.
  • 7b) Enshrine gender equity in all fisheries rights systems, including licensing and access rights. The definitions of fishing must cover all forms of harvest including the forms typically practised by women and small-scale operators, such as inshore and inland harvesting of invertebrates by hand and the use of very small-scale gear.