Category Archives: Asia

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.

All GAF-India presentations now online

We are pleased to announce that all the slide presentations from GAF-India, held 21-24 November 2017 during the 11th Indian Fisheries and Aquaculture Forum, Kochi, India, are now available online. Check them out on this page: LINK

Dry fish market, India. Photo: Ujwala Jaykisan Patil, Maharashtra Machhimar Kruti Samiti, Maharashtra, India. Presentation in the Special Workshop on Challenges in the Implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on Small Scale Fisheries (SSFVG) of FAO in South Asia, led by ICSF.

Thank you to Sijitha of CIFT for uploading the presentations.

“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!

GAF-India Prizes and Launch of GAF Section at 11IFAF

GAF-India was held in Kochi, Kerala, India from 21-24 November 2017. Previously, the prize winners of the M.C. Nandeesha Photo Competition were announced (link). Now we are happy to announce the student prize winners for GAF-India presentations and posters, and the winner of the first Asian Fisheries Society Indian Branch Prof. M.C. Nandeesha Gender Justice and Equality Award.

See photos and details of all the prize winners here.

Winner of First Prize, Best Student Presentation at GAF-India, B.M.R.L. Basnayake, receiving her prize from Dr J.K. Jena, President of Asian Fisheries Society Indian Branch and Asian Fisheries Society, at the closing ceremony 11IFAF, 24 November 2017, Kochi, India.

BEST STUDENT PRESENTATIONS

1st Prize: B.M.R.L. Basnayake and D..M. De Silva – “Gendered Timeline of the Market Landscape of the Fisheries Industry in Sri Lanka.”

2nd Prize: Asha S. Karunaratne, I.C. Hettiarachchi and D.A.M. De Silva – “Gender Sensitive Value Chain Selection: Fish, Banana and Cinnamon, Which Provide Best Opportunities for Women?”

BEST STUDENT POSTERS

1st Prize: Mrudula, K.M., P.K. Sajeenamol, Jiswin Joseph, M.V. Neelima, Bindu J., S Sreejith, Sajesh, V.K., and Nikita Gopal– “Traditional Fish Recipes of Fisher Households and Their Significance.”

2nd Prize: Manju Lekshmi N., Archana G., Saly N. Thomas and Leela Edwin – “Rural Women Participation in Pre and Post-Harvest Operations of Stakenet (Estuarine Set Bag) along Aroor Fishing Village, Alappuzha, Kerala.”

ASIAN FISHERIES SOCIETY INDIAN BRANCH: PROF. M.C. NANDEESHA GENDER JUSTICE & EQUALITY AWARD 2017

Dr Meryl J Williams, Honorary Life Member, Asian Fisheries Society, “In recognition of her pioneering and sustaining efforts towards drawing international attention and developing impacting interventions in  gender justice and equality in the Asian Aquaculture and Fisheries sector.”

Lives of women in the Sunderabans under climate change

By Professor Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt

Resource, Environment and Development Program, Crawford School for Public Policy, Australian National University

The film is based on my ongoing research on the effects of climate change on women living in the villages of the Sundarbans, focusing on how they are facing up to the challenges thrown by the rising sea levels, higher tidal surges that breach through the embankments that protect villages and farmlands, more frequent and more intense cyclonic storms and so on. 

Although everyone’s life is changing, women are affected more than men as they carry out the daily chores – collecting fresh water as salinity creeps into the soil and underground aquifers.

The film was made in collaboration with my colleague, Ronodeb Paul, of Kolkata, India. 

Rono and I were in the Sundarbans at the height of the monsoons; the rivers were swollen and the tides was fierce. It was very scary to cross some of the river channels to get to the chars or river islands. Once in the villages, it was not much easier; the fine-grained clay that covered everything like a veneer was extremely slippery. During one of the shoots, I slipped on the wet clay and fell, causing much fun amongst the village women who had better practice at tiptoeing on the mud than me. 

To see the video, click here.

“Father teaches son fishing and living without violence”

Studies on masculinity and gender issues, and particularly on domestic violence in fishing communities, are rare in fisheries research literature which tends, rather, to focus on technical, biological, economic and governance aspects of the industry and the people in it. In some cases, social and health groups reach out to people in fishing communities in their efforts to overcome gender-based violence. One such case was reported in the 2013 paper in the Oxfam periodical Gender and Development , called “‘Because I am a man, I should be gentle to my wife and my children’: positive masculinity to stop gender-based violence in a coastal district in Vietnam” by Tu-Anh Hoang, Trang Thu Quach and Tam Thanh Tran.

Boatsandrice-Cau-Lo

A range of fishing boats at Cau Lo, Vietnam. Left: 2008 photo of a mixed group of traditional wooden fishing vessels moored in the river, including the basket boats on top of vessels at center and left of photo. Right: Deepwater port at Cua Lo, Vietnam, and large modern motor fishing vessels. Source: Courtesy of Ken Preston, “Wooden Boats of the North Vietnamese Coast” on the website, “The Wooden Working Boats of Indochina”, http://boatsandrice.com/nVN.html

This paper describes an intervention targeted at men who had been involved in cases of gender-based violence and worked with them to create a greater understanding of the immediate and culturally embedded causes of the violence. The project helped the men, all fishermen, to develop more positive behaviours in their family relationships, winning them greater appreciation in their homes and in society.

Abstract: Despite the efforts of the government to promote gender equality in Vietnam, genderbased violence is still a critical issue. This article explores a pilot project, the Responsible Men Club, developed and implemented in a coastal district in Vietnam from 2010 to 2012 to work with men to stop violence against their wives. Focusing on masculinity and promoting gender equality in a culturally relevant way significantly improves acceptance of the programme by men themselves and their communities, and enhances its impact. We argue that empowerment, a process often used for women, is also important for men. To construct and encourage a positive, non-violent version of masculinity, men need relevant knowledge, skills, mentoring, and peer support. It is a challenge for gender-based violence programmes to work on increasing public awareness of the issue of violence against women, and reduce society’s tolerance of it, without increasing stigmatisation of and objections to men in general, and to perpetrator men in particular.

Download the papers 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.