Category Archives: Global

From “women do fish” to “women do participate and lead”

Slowly over the last few decades, the number and type of organisations representing the interests of women in fisheries and aquaculture have begun to grow and diversify. Little is written about this welcome growth of activity and so the new FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Circular by Enrique Alonso-Población and Susana Siar (Link) “Women’s participation and leadership in fisherfolk organizations and collective action in fisheries: a review of evidence on enablers, drivers and barriers,” is a very welcome addition to the literature.

The Circular begins with a well considered review of the rationale behind women’s collective action and organisation, and whether and how this might relate to their empowerment. Given the plethora of conceptualisations of empowerment, however, the authors decide not to superimpose any particular version of empowerment on their analysis, but to accept the bottom line that if women are not organised and not participating in the institutions of the sector, then definitely this is a sign of their marginalisation and lack of access to specific resources.

In a historical terms, women’s participation has long been recognised and even celebrated, but the authors document that, for example, although women in the Spanish Galician fisheries have been visible for over 100 years, only in the 1980s did a series of management and political changes begin to professionalise their work and give them actual control over their industry. Hence, the concept of getting beyond the descriptives of “women do fish” and onto “women do participate and lead.”

Using an extensive literature analysis, the authors first delve into the diverse array of institutions that enable and foster women’s participation in collective action and organizations. These range from: government institutions, non-government organisations, development aid and conservation projects, religious organisations, academia, endogenous mobilization among groups of women identifying with their professional work, e.g., the women divers of Japan and Korea, and Norwegian fishermen’s wives, the catalysing drive of individual leaders, and events that created unexpected chances. Particularly welcome is the access the Circular gives to literature in languages other than English, e.g., the Brazilian and other South American examples.

Having explored the diversity of women’s organisations, the authors recognise that the endogeneous and external drivers for organizing can be classified into a few familiar categories, especially: dwindling resources and securing management roles, sectoral modernisation, the imperative to secure fishing rights, economics, the drive to secure family well-being, and the drive for women’s rights.

Despite the positive feel that comes with uncovering such a rich stream of women’s collective action, the authors are firm in their desire not to leave us thinking that the problems are beginning to be solved. Problems range from governments that will not accord women rights to the women’s own individual aims and competitiveness overcoming the benefits of collective action.

Overall, this Circular is highly recommended reading!  Here is the Link.

Alonso-Población, E. and Siar, Susana V. 2018. Women’s participation and leadership in fisherfolk organizations and collective action in fisheries: a review of evidence on enablers, drivers and barriers. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Circular No. 1159. Rome, FAO.

ABSTRACT: The increased recognition of the multiplicity of roles played by women in, and their crucial the fisheries sector exists in stark contrast with the low presence of women in fisherfolk organizations around the globe, and the lack of access to decision-making positions in many formal fisheries-related organizations. This paper summarizes analyses of a global literature review on women in fisherfolk organizations. The aim of the study was to identify positive examples and lessons learned by pointing to the drivers – as well as the enablers and entities identified in the literature – that have a key role in fostering increased women’s participation and leadership in collective action in fisheries. State institutions, social movements and civil society organizations, development and conservation projects, religious movements, academia, endogenous mobilization, charismatic individuals and coincidences have been identified as the key enablers of women’s participation in collective action. Dwindling resources and the need to secure management roles, modernization, the allocation of fishing rights, economic changes, family welfare and women’s rights, are the main drivers identified by the authors as catalysers of women’s engagement in collective action. Finally, the paper identifies some of the barriers faced by women to gain equal access to organizations and decision-making. Although more research on the topic is required, there seems to be consensus on the positive effects for women arising from their engagement in modes of collective action.

“Engendering Security in Fisheries and Aquaculture” Special Issue of Asian Fisheries Journal online

Special Issue of Asian Fisheries Science journal, Volume 30S, has just been released online, presenting 25 papers, plus a Guest Editorial and other information based on GAF6 – the 6th Global Symposium on Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries (2016, Bangkok, India).

The Special Issue is “Engendering Security in Fisheries and Aquaculture.” Dr Nikita Gopal, Chief Guest Editor of the Special Issue, and her co-editors, highlight that, as applied research, “most of the work published represents on-the-ground efforts to empower women and men to improve their livelihoods. These applied studies are complemented by others of a deeper theoretical and more exploratory nature addressing women‟s and men‟s personal perceptions of themselves within the fish sectors.

The papers cover many angles, including the impacts on fishermen’s perceptions of their masculinity under strict new fisheries regulations, women’s and men’s strategies and niches in aquaculture, a large tuna port, following a major land reclamation project, a tsunami and in seaweed production. In exploring the paucity of sex-disaggregated data, aquaculture publishing by women, and women’s needs after disasters, the papers range from global in scope, to the national and local.

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 our new Women in Aquaculture Profile

Difficult working conditions: women bending over and sitting submerged in water for long periods tying seaweed to farm stakes, Zanzibar. Photo: Flower Msuya

If you are looking for a readable, succinct and authoritative overview on women in aquaculture, then you may appreciate the new Profile on Women in Aquaculture by Cecile Brugere and Meryl Williams. This Profile was developed with the collaboration of Aquaculture without Frontiers Australia, support from Skretting Australia, and subjected to a review by peers. It is now the 3rd Discover GAF Profile put out by the Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries Section of the Asian Fisheries Society (see also Gleaning by Danika Kleiber, and Women divers by Enrique Alonso-Población).

The Profile makes the case that women’s opportunities in aquaculture have not kept pace with the rapid growth of the sector. Reliable sex-disaggregated statistics are missing for aquaculture, and most sectoral policies are gender-blind. To achieve gender equality and empower women, the aquaculture sector has to mainstream gender targets in all its certification, accreditation, and labour policies and practices.

“Gender equality is in the detail”: Examining gender issues in aquaculture requires delving into the specificities of both the sector and women’s involvement in it. Research can shed light on what makes women lose (or retain) control over their activities as the scale, intensity and economics of aquaculture production grows. On small scale farms, women and men frequently work together, carrying out complementary activities. In medium and industrial scale aquaculture, women are at the lower end of the pay scale or unpaid. As production intensifies, women’s engagement drops. They rarely become managers, although they are capable of rising to this level. Women are the bulk of workers in post-harvest and product transformation activities.

Today, more women are graduating in aquaculture from higher education institutes and gender parity has been achieved in some cases. More women are entering highly skilled employment.

Aquaculture can empower women, and lead to better household food security and nutrition, but these benefits are not automatic.

Aquaculture practitioners need good technical instruments for gender-responsive planning, indicators of progress, training and communications.

Check out and download the Profile of Women in Aquaculture here.

A welcome new FAO gender Handbook to support the Small Scale Fisheries Guidelines

A very welcome addition to the technical support for the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication – a handbook –  has just been released by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).  Called “Towards gender-equitable small-scale fisheries governance and development“, the handbook written by Nilanjana Biswas, of the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF), is a treasure trove of essential background knowledge on women, gender and small-scale fisheries, combined with practical advice and case examples on incorporating gender equality principles in small scale fisheries work. The target audience is broad – from government officers to fishers and their communities, fish worker groups and researchers, as befits a product of the very participatory development process the Handbook team took.

The Handbook is organised in 3 parts:

  • Part 1: Understanding gender and the role of women in small-scale fisheries
  • Part 2: Responsible fisheries and sustainable development through a gender lens
  • Part 3: Ensuring an enabling environment for gender equality and supporting implementation

Among the rich and varied advice and explanatory boxes are such gems as a guide to tried and tested FAO methods for assessing post-harvest losses, and disaster response and rehabilitation issues to target to help women. Throughout, the Handbook has action points for policy-makers and for community service organisations, offering a few key tips on each subject.

A particular highlight is the set of case studies, each containing a description of the case, followed by a gender-sensitive “Let’s analyse this…” section that gets to the heart of the gender issues.

Here is the list of Case Studies:

  1. Women in fishing communities on Lake Victoria
  2. Tenure rights of traditional fishing communities in Raigad, India
  3. Recognition of indigenous community-owned land in Nicaragua
  4. War-affected women in the fishing villages of the Mannar Coast,
    Sri Lanka
  5. Self-regulation by women harvesters in the Gulf of Mannar, India
  6. Mandira Marine Extractive Region, Sao Paulo, Brazil
  7. Transboundary issues and fishers – learning from India and Sri Lanka
  8. Transboundary issues and fishers – learning from the European Union
  9. Diversifying livelihoods for small-scale fishing communities in Uganda
  10. Pacific Fishing Company on Levuka Island, Fiji
  11. Migrant Chinese women workers employed in oyster shucking in Japan
  12. Growing violence and abuse in small-scale fisheries in South Africa
  13. Reclaiming the Marol fish market in Mumbai, India
  14. Impact of harbour fishing on fish trade in Kerala, India
  15. Impact of competition along Lake Victoria in Kenya and on inland
    fisheries in Zambia
  16. Impact of industrialization on women in small-scale post-harvest
    fisheries in South Africa
  17. Issues of cross-border trade for traditional women fish vendors in
    Cambodia
  18. The risks of neglecting women in policy implementation
  19. Post-tsunami rehabilitation in Aceh, Indonesia
  20. Impact of mine pollution in Buyat Bay, Indonesia
  21. Matsyafed in Kerala, India – an apex cooperative for small-scale fisheries
  22. Impact of seasonal fishing ban on women fish traders in
    Puducherry, India
  23. Marshall Point, a coastal indigenous fishing/farming community in
    Nicaragua
  24. Women fishers fight corruption in the Sunderbans, India
  25. An example of value chain analysis (VCA) (in Malawi)
  26. Public hearing on issues of women in the fish trade in Kerala, India
  27. Enabling women’s participation in meetings in Kigombe, the United
    Republic of Tanzania
  28. Fisherwomen in Brazil organize for their rights
  29. Regional Fisheries Livelihood Programme for South and Southeast
    Asia (RFLP)
  30. Mainstreaming gender in the BOBLME project

Download the full Handbook at this LINK.

Mapping the action on International Women’s Day ’17

Map showing the locations (mainly at country resolution level) for events and news about women in aquaculture, fisheries and seafood in honor of International Women’s Day 2017. If you have more events from 8 March 2017 to put on this map, please let us know at: e-mail genderaquafish@gmail.com.

IWD-17-image-1

Click this LINK to view the interactive version of of the above map, created with eSpatial mapping software.

Before, during and after 8 March 2017 (International Women’s Day), news, tweets and posts flooded in relating to the Day. Our group shared these events via two roundup messages. We have now put the events onto the map above, using eSpatial mapping software, and generous assistance from Ciara at eSpatial (thank you Ciara!).

To read the details of any event, click on the marker for it. We have placed the event marker on the country (sometimes city or state) where the event happened, although many have global or regional significance.

This seemed to be the most active IWD ever from a fisheries, aquaculture and seafood industry perspective. Let’s hope it is a sign of an active and fruitful year ahead for gender equality in the sector!

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

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.