Category Archives: Iceland

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

FAO report highlights gender imbalance in fish industry

Worker in Marz, Iceland, factory, the only women created and led seafood exporting country in Iceland. Photo: Grapevine magazine, Iceland 2 Jan 2014.

Worker in Marz, Iceland, factory, the only women created and led seafood exporting country in Iceland. Photo: Grapevine magazine, Iceland 2 Jan 2014.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), through its GLOBEFISH unit on international fish trade, recently released a report – “The Role of Women in the Seafood Industry” – that highlighted the contributions and constraints on women through all levels and scales of the fish industry. The report, written by Marie-Christine Monfort, is a welcome addition to the global analysis of women in the industry and particularly focuses its attention on “the
widespread lack of consideration for their role and work in the seafood industry is, in many respects, disadvantageous to them and ultimately bars them from participating fully and equitably in the industry.” It is aimed to raise awareness in business leaders and policy makers.

In its general analysis and conclusions, much of what the report says will not be news to readers of this website, but the author makes her points well and strongly, for example in tables such as that below on “where are the women.”where are the women

Marie Christine Monfort at GAF5, Lucknow.

Marie Christine Monfort at GAF5, Lucknow.

In particular, the author, herself successful in the seafood industry, takes a private sector industry view that distinguishes it from the studies and reports of academics and government experts, with a strong focus on what is happening in companies of all sizes and in their workforces and management. She gives board and management numbers and employee number by gender for the top companies, and lists companies headed by women.

A unique feature comes in the second part of the report, namely the 6 case studies of Croatia, Egypt, France, Iceland, India and Senegal. Each country is analysed for the knowledge about women’s participation in the seafood industry, awareness of gender inequalities and corrective measures in the seafood industry. The picture is not encouraging, with the possible exception of Iceland where knowledge and awareness are high, but corrective measures to help women still largely lacking, although now the women have created their own supportive network.

The report can be downloaded from FAO: click here.

See also Marie-Christine Monfort’s presentation at GAF5.

Iceland: mobility and flexibility in the face of change

Urbanization trends and the social impacts of economic change are macro social and economic themes today but rarely do we look more closely at the impacts on local and rural people. Anna Karlsdóttir has recently looked more closely at the women’s perspectives in Husavık village, NE Iceland, in a study done after Iceland’s economic collapse. Over the years leading up to the collapse, the village had gone from a fishing and agricultural services center to one focusing more on tourism and whale watching. Even before the economic crisis, under the fisheries quota system inhabitants had more limited access to fisheries resources and out-migration was already occurring among the young. This study of young women focused on the ‘agency perspective, emphasizing their own power to make decisions about where to live’, plus the effect of external circumstances/structures. Family ties and social relations were found to be the dominant reasons women chose to live in the village. Men were more mobile in seeking employment in changed economic conditions and women more flexible in what employment they would take but also in shouldering greater home duties; their mobility depends greatly on social relations

Link (needs access) http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08038740.2011.594029 Authors e-mail: annakar@hi.is