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
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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.
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.
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Many agencies and projects find themselves in the same situation as the Bay of Bengal Large Marine Ecosystem project (BOBLME), which realised that it had not taken gender into account in formulating its strategies and project priorities. To overcome this gap, BOBLME undertook an ex post analysis of the gender dimension of their work and what to do to catch up on including gender.
These efforts have now been condensed and presented in a new paper by Cecile Brugere called Mainstreaming gender in transboundary natural resources projects – the experience of the Bay of Bengal Large Marine Ecosystem (BOBLME) project. The experience and the processes used in the BOBLME planning efforts for gender should be of value to other agencies who find themselves starting late to incorporate gender.
The paper is open access in the journal Environmental Development and can be be downloaded here.
Abstract: The Bay of Bengal Large Marine Ecosystem (BOBLME) project aims to improve the lives of men and women depending on the fisheries resources of the Bay of Bengal. Despite the major role women play in fisheries, the contents of the project documents have however remained gender-blind. The paper proposes that the Theory of Change offers a compelling framework to consider how this could be redressed in an ex-post manner, enabling transboundary natural resources projects such as the BOBLME project to contribute to gender equality and women’s empowerment. Practical steps are suggested. They include the elaboration of a high-level statement of political will to gender equality and the consideration of gender-sensitive actions and cross-cutting issues covering communication, gender-disaggregated data collection and governance. A commitment to impact through human capacity building and the allocation of adequate budgets for gender mainstreaming, is fundamental to embrace the change process that progress towards gender equality requires. In line with the Theory of Change, the development of a pathway to impact and use of gender- sensitive outcome mapping as a form of monitoring and evaluation are suggested as pivotal in capturing the changes expected from mainstreaming gender in the project and the project’s own influence in progressing towards gender equality in the region. The main- streaming approach proposed could be generalised to other transboundary natural resources projects of a similar institutional and operational structure to the BOBLME project.
Posted in Asia, Bangladesh, BOBLME, Cecile Brugere, Fish post-harvest, Fisheries, Gender, Gender and development, Gender research resources, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Men, Myanmar, Natural resource management, People, Regional, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Women
Ms Rani, wife of a fisher from Toothoor area in Kanniyakumari district of Tamil Nadu, India. Her husband, besides catching tuna, also catches sharks. Ms Rani was speaking in a stakeholder meeting convened by the BOBP-IGO to discuss the shark fisheries management plan. Photo: BOBP-IGO
Most marine and fisheries development projects are gender blind, even though, in recent years, they generally pay much more attention to reaching out to fishing communities. What does a major, multi-country project do when it wants to get serious on overcoming its gender-blindness? For sure, the project partners face a steep learning curve, but the FAO-managed Bay of Bengal Large Marine Ecosystem (BOBLME) project has taken the plunge. In 2012, it commissioned a major study by Cecile Brugere to help them work out where they stood and what to do. BOBLME has now published Dr Brugere’s report – Mainstreaming Gender in the BOBLME Project: gender audit and recommended actions for mainstreaming a gender perspective – and it is a very useful guide with wider relevance than just BOBLME. It is a veritable “how to” and literature review from which new and even experienced practitioners can learn a lot. Also significant is that this is the first of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) supported Large Marine Ecosystem projects to undertake a thorough gender audit.
The Regional Coordinator of the Bay of Bengal Large Marine Ecosystem Project (BOBLME), Dr Chris O’Brien told Genderaquafish.org that, ” even though BOBLME countries faced many challenges in tackling gender inequalities, now there is some clarity and guidance on what needs to be done. Moreover, the countries are supportive of addressing gender considerations in a concerted way in the next five year phase of the Project.”
Download the report: Mainstreaming gender in the BOBLME Project: Gender audit and recommended actions for mainstreaming a gender perspective in the BOBLME project and its Strategic Action Programme (SAP), By Cecile Brugere
Ms Tanvi Vaidyanathan, Consultant working with the BOBP-IGO in the Gulf of Mannar Project. In the picture, Ms Tanvi is delivering a lecture in the Regional CCRF Training programme. Photo: BOBP-IGO.
This paper was prepared to support the mainstreaming of a gender perspective in the BOBLME Project and SAP. The gender audit of international and regional instruments the eight BOBLME partner countries are signatories, as well as national development and fisheries policies highlighted uneven progress in tackling gender inequalities and accounting of gender issues, overall denoting a cultural and institutional environment that may not be at all times conducive of gender mainstreaming initiatives. While the majority of the BOBLME Project documents audited were found to be gender-blind based on their sole contents, this was attributed to a lack of awareness rather than an intended oversight. Despite the relative advancement of the project, entry points to mainstream gender in the SAP were identified through:
- The addition of a statement of political will or commitment to gender,
- The consideration of gender-sensitive actions,
- The addition of a section on cross-cutting issues covering gender training, communication, legislation, capacity building at field level, gender-disaggregated data collection and research on gender issues,
- The consideration of incentives and accounting mechanisms,
- The earmarking of a specific budget for gender-related activities at project level and strategic actions.
- The addition of a pathway to impact.
- The use of outcome mapping as a form of monitoring and evaluation.
- The last two are seen as pivotal in capturing the changes that are expected as result of both mainstreaming gender in the project, and the project’s own influence in progressing towards gender equality.
In addition to these, key recommendations for future action by the BOBLME partner countries include:
- Commissioning of a gender-sensitive review of legislation and regulatory frameworks in the BOBLME partner countries,
- Following through the mainstreaming of gender in the NAPs, mirroring what has been proposed to mainstream gender in the SAP,
- Tackling gender-disaggregated data collection as soon as possible,
- Ensuring the continuous provision of gender inputs throughout the project duration,
- Strengthening the participatory processes undertaken so far by the project,
- Avoiding falling in the Women in Development/efficiency rhetoric and maintaining a focus on the addressing of gender issues and inequality,
- Supporting gender training and capacity building at all levels, beyond the life of the project.
Posted in Asia, Bangladesh, BOBLME, BOBP-IGO, Cecile Brugere, FAO, UN Women, World Bank, IFAD, UNIDO and other multilateral, Fisheries, GEF, Gender, Gender and development, Gender research resources, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Men, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Tamil Nadu, Thailand, Women