Category Archives: Norway

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

Still few women leaders in 100 top seafood companies

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Shrimp processing in Bangladesh. Worldwide, women are the most common workers on the factory floor, but in top seafood companies are rare on company boards and in senior management.  Photo: M. Nuruzzaman, Bangladesh.

Women may be numerous on the factory floors of top seafood producers but, at the top of the companies, their numbers are small. Marie-Christine Monfort, a seafood industry insider herself, conducted a follow-up survey to track changes since she authored an earlier report for FAO (see our previous post). The recent study found that the number of women in senior leadership positions shifted little between 2014 and 2016.

Some quick facts from the latest study:

  • Only one company (Marusen Chiyoda Suisan, Japan) is headed by a woman
  • Nearly half the companies for which details are available (38 of 71) have no women on their boards
  • Noway (31%) and China (20%) companies have the highest percentage of women board members, and Chile and Japan the lowest (2%), followed closely by UK (4%)
  • The average percent of women on boards in all the top companies surveyed is 9.1%

The report recommends that the time has come for the sector to encourage more women in top ranks and give them more of a say in decision-making.

The report can be downloaded here.

EAF-Nansen project publishes gender audit

Training on board R/V Dr Fridtjof Nansen in Myanmar, 2015. Photo: EAF-Nansen photogallery.

Training on board R/V Dr Fridtjof Nansen in Myanmar, 2015. Photo: EAF-Nansen photogallery.

The 34 year old series of FAO-Norwegian fisheries projects based on capacity building and use of the Research Vessel (R/V) Dr Fridtjof Nansen has released the report of its first gender audit. The latest phase of the Nansen work is based on the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries (EAF), hence the need to take a much more concerted look at how gender equity figures in its work. It is heartening to see the EAF-Nansen project take this in-depth look at gender.

The report, “Gender Audit and Recommendations for Mainstreaming Gender in the EAF-Nansen Project,” was written by Ceciel Brugere, based on her analyses, surveys and interviews with project partners. It concludes that:

Despite its numerous achievements, the EAF-Nansen project so far has missed opportunities to mainstream a gender perspective in its design and implementation. This is … due in large part to the fact that gender awareness is assumed to exist and gender dimensions taken ‘naturally’ into account, and to the fact that much of the EAF guidance relied upon by the project does not give much prominence to the gender dimensions of fisheries management.

The audit makes 19 fundamental and achievable recommendations, aimed at improving:

  1. the overall depth of attention given to ‘human’ issues in fisheries management to ensure that gender is included in these, both in capacity development and in the studies underpinning fisheries management, and
  2. its reporting, monitoring and evaluation.

As part of its data gathering, the audit canvassed country partner views on gender matters, including on how they would like to see gender capacity building delivered at individual and institutional levels, giving good guidance to institutional leaders.2015 gender audit EAF Report No 24 COMPLETE 27feb15

The next steps in how the EAF-Nansen project takes up these challenges will be interesting to follow. Its pre-eminent position in the developing regions in which it works can have wide ranging impact.

The Long Journey to Equality

Women weighing riverine fish catch, India. Photo: Lalit Tyagi.

Women weighing riverine fish catch, India. Photo: Lalit Tyagi.

We see some greater commitment to gender equality in policies and by institutions, but the position of women in mainstream and traditional value chains is still eroding despite new technologies accessible to women and new development approaches.

This was the conclusion of the full report of GAF5, the 5th Global Symposium on Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries. Based on presentations and discussions, the report explores five themes: (1) greater policy and institutional commitment to gender equality; (2) the eroding position of women in aquaculture and fisheries; (3) new technologies for women and new gender equality approaches; (4) diagnosing diversity and enabling action; and (5) GAF101, networks and GAF information.

Read the full report.

Women and children first: Gendered and generational change in small scale fisheries in Canada and Norway

Library and Archives, Canada. 1993 postage stamp.

Library and Archives, Canada. 1993 postage stamp.

Barbara Neis, Siri Gerrard and Nicole G. Power have written a reflective paper on the social-ecological systems of cod (Gadus morhua) fisheries in Atlantic Canada and Norway. Their study revealed similarities but also many differences between the ways small scale fishing communities in the two countries have reacted to changes in the fish stocks and the policies that accompanied the changes.

Their paper, “Women and Children First: the Gendered and Generational Socialecology of Smaller-scale Fisheries in Newfoundland and Labrador and Northern  Norway,” draws from the great depth of excellent sociological and gender research over the last decades, including especially their own. It explores the impacts since the late 1980s and early 1990s of the Canadian cod stock collapse and of the introduction of a new type of quota system in the Norwegian part of the Norwegian-Russian cod fishery.

They found that the ecological trajectories were very different in both fisheries – the Canadian cod stock has not recovered, but some other fisheries have prospered in its place, while the Norwegian cod stocks are at a record high. However, policy differences between the two countries resulted in employment decreasing in both countries, with the Norwegian decrease 10% greater than that in the Canadian fishery. Women’s formal engagement in the two fisheries differ, but is generally low, especially in  Norway where they have been less likely to engage in the catching sector. In both places, young people are not entering the fishery, although modest success has been achieved with youth-oriented initiatives in Norway. The age profile of fish-workers is getting older.  Women and  youth face the hurdle of raising sufficient funds to buy boats, licences and quota. The changes are complex and the social and household impacts have emerged in the face of gender and generational blindness in policy-making.

Download the paper here

ABSTRACT. The resilience of small-scale fisheries in developed and developing countries has been used to provide lessons to conventional managers regarding ways to transition toward a social-ecological approach to understanding and managing fisheries. We contribute to the understanding of the relationship between management and the resilience of small-scale fisheries in developed countries by looking at these dynamics in the wake of the shock of stock collapse and fisheries closures in two contexts: Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, and northern Norway. We revisit and update previous research on the gendered effects of the collapse and closure of the Newfoundland and Labrador northern cod fishery and the closure of the Norwegian cod fishery in the early 1990s and present new research on young people in fisheries communities in both contexts. We argue that post-closure fishery policy and industry responses that focused on downsizing fisheries through professionalization, the introduction of quotas, and other changes ignored the gendered and intergenerational household basis of small-scale fisheries and its relationship to resilience. Data on ongoing gender inequities within these fisheries and on largely failed recruitment of youth to these fisheries suggest they are currently at a tipping-point that, if not addressed, could lead to their virtual disappearance in the near future.

GAF4 Spotlight was on Gender and Change

The full report, program and all slide presentations from the 4th Global Symposium on Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries are NOW ONLINE!

Fishery changes shift working spaces, create and destroy jobs and bring overlaps in women’s and men’s roles. 

At the end of GAF4, student volunteers and Piyashi DebRoy (winner of GAF4 AquaFish CRSP Best Student Paper award congratulate all GAF4 participatns.

Congratulations to GAF4 participants from our student volunteers from Chonnam National University, Moon Eun-Ji (left) and Bak So-Hyeon (right), and Piyashi DebRoy (center and winner of GAF4 AquaFish CRSP Best Student Paper award) .

“Gender and fisheries studies, therefore, are increasingly addressing these changes and how women and men were affected by them,” said Dr Nikita Gopal who led the Program Committee that organized this highly energetic and successful event.  GAF4 also continued to fill out the global picture showing that women and gender issues are still not properly understood in the fisheries sector.”

Feedback declared GAF4 the most successful and highest quality of the 6 women in fisheries/gender in aquaculture and fisheries events held by the Asian Fisheries Society over the last 15 years.

On Genderaquafish.org you will find:

Arctic fisheries in the news

Photo: Sloan et al (2002) Women in Arctic fisheries report.

Woman fisher. Source: cover of Sloan et al (2002) Women in Arctic fisheries report.

The European Union Fisheries Commissioner, Maria Damanaki, and the  Norwegian Fisheries Minister Lisbeth Berg-Hansen have recently discussed the need for a responsible approach to the Arctic region and and for governments to engage more closely with the people who live there. Concerns over climate change and its impact on Arctic fisheries and the people dependent on them generated the discussion.

In 2002, the Arctic Council sponsored the “Taking Wing” conference on gender equality and women in the Arctic  in Finland. The conference focused on the link between gender equality and natural resource management for sustainable development and made the following recommendation to the ministers:

…to establish a project to analyse and document the involvement and role of women and indigenous peoples in natural resource management in the Arctic.

The ensuing project published a report on “Women’s Participation in Decision-making Processes in Arctic Fisheries Resource Management: Arctic Council 2002-2004“,  by Lindis Sloan (editor), Joanna Kafarowski, Anna Heilmann, Anna Karlsdóttir, Maria Udén Luleå, Elisabeth Angell Norut and Mari Moen Erlandsen.

The report can be downloaded here.

(Thank you to Rikke Becker Jacobsen of IFM, Denmark and Charlotte D. Andersen of the Gronlands Nationalbibliotek in Nuuk, Greenland, for the link.)

Extract from the Preface

Fisheries represent a traditional way of life and are of great economic and cultural importance to coastal populations in the Arctic, indigenous and non-indigenous Northern inhabitants. Women are part of these coastal
settlements; fisheries resource management and regulatory measures affect their lives, yet they are not accorded stakeholder status or participatory rights in regulatory bodies.

This project has become a joint effort, with participants from Canada, Greenland, Iceland, the Faroes, Norway and Sweden both in the work group and in the International Steering Committee. The Sámediggi, the Sámi Parliament in Norway, followed up on the original recommendation by commissioning a report on the gender equality aspect of their fisheries policy. A summary of this report is included as a separate chapter in the report.

The report is based on statistics and fieldwork studies in the participating countries, and each national chapter contains both statistics on the fisheries in the country, a fieldwork report and in several cases, the author’s recommendations. In addition, the national project leaders have agreed on a set of recommendations to national authorities and to the industry, and the International Steering Committee has agreed to support these recommendations. These are found in a separate chapter in the report.

This report is intended to be easily accessible to the fish harvesters, their communities, politicians and the industry alike; therefore it does not contain extensive background data or references to scientific literature. We have hoped to provide a broad picture of fisheries in the Arctic, and some of the many ways in which women are part of this industry.