Category Archives: Global

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.

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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.

Economics, trade analysis of fish value chains lacking good gender information

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.

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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.

FAO: Promoting women’s empowerment in fisheries and aquaculture

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Woman sorting the catch at the dock in Muscat. Photo: FAO

By Jennifer Gee, Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, FAO

FAO has released a publication, Promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment in fisheries and aquaculture”, prepared jointly by the Social Policies and Rural Institutions Division and the Fisheries Department within FAO.

The publication provides an overview of current gender equality and women’s empowerment issues in the fisheries and aquaculture sector are presents them alongside information on policy, institutions and planning processes; statistical dimensions in gender analysis; and specific concerns in the sectors. Lessons learned are identified and some case studies presented. The publication was not intended to make an exhaustive analysis of the subject, but rather to suggest some relevant approaches to offer continuity with the work that has been conducted over the years on women’s crucial role in sustainable fisheries and aquaculture development.

The document concludes with a section on the way forward that address the macro, meso and micro-levels with a call that “Human dimensions must be considered in all formal fisheries regulations, policies and plans, and the gender perspective must be included in fisheries and aquaculture activities and development strategies.” Looking ahead it suggests that the relationships between women and men’s role and relationships within the sector must be further investigated and highlights the ongoing need to improve sex-disaggregated statistics.

The publication is currently available in English (link) and will be released in Spanish and French in early 2017.