Category Archives: Nikita Gopal

Women’s voices, gender equity champions and a gender lens all matter – converging messages from GAF6

thailand-2

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

Yemaya releases 50th issue

2015-340_yem50_e_ALL

Women filleting in Petatán, Mexico. The sight of women filleting alone or in groups in their courtyards is a common one. Photo. Carmen Pedroza-Gutiérrez, in Yemaya 50, “Empowerment through filletting.”

Yemaya, the gender and fisheries newsletter of the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF) has published its 50th newsletter. As usual, Yemaya is an excellent read from its varied and thoughtful articles, to the wry Yemaya Mama cartoons, to reviews and news.

The contents in this December 2015 edition are:

  1. Editorial by Nilanjana Biswas
  2. Analysis: Trade. “Women in today’s fisheries economy” by Meryl Williams
  3. Asia: Sri Lanka. “Widows’ struggles in post-war Sri Lanka” by Cornelie Quist
  4. What’s new Webby? Gendered Seas
  5. Africa: South Africa. “The long road to freedom” by Sharon Groenmeyer
  6. Regional: Africa. “Women in fisheries in Africa” by Serge Raemaekers & Jackie Sunde
  7. Through the years with Yemaya Mama
  8. Asia: India “Hard days and nights” by Ellen Thorell
  9. Profile. “Defending a way of life” by Sara García, Fisherwoman from Costa Rica
  10. Regional: Central America. “Women in Central America’s fisheries” by Vivienne Solis Rivera
  11. Regional: Asia. “Half the fishers in the world” by Nikita Gopal
  12. Milestones by Ramya Rajagopalan
  13. Latin America: Mexico. “Empowerment through filleting” by Carmen Pedroza-Gutiérrez
  14. Q&A. Interview of Kholiswa Fosana, Eastern Cape, South Africa, by Jackie Sunde
  15. Yemaya Mama cops out of COP21
  16. Book Review. “Our Mother Ocean: Enclosure, Commons,
    and the Global Fishermen’s Movement” by Mariarosa Dalla Costa and Monica Chilese. Review by Nilanjana Biswas

 

 

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.

Genderaquafish.org: 2014 year in review

GAF5 attendees on opening day, 13 November 2014, Lucknow, India

GAF5 attendees on opening day, 13 November 2014, Lucknow, India

Our Genderaquafish.org website continued to grow in popularity in 2014, with visits to the site increasing by 9% over the 2013 level, reaching 18,454 visits from people in at least 162 countries, covering all regions. Our top 5 countries for visitors were: India (4,734), USA (2,528), Philippines (941), Malaysia (831), UK (696).

Genderaquafish.org visitors came from all regions and most countries of the world.

Genderaquafish.org visitors came from all regions and most countries of the world.

2014 stats by region

Read the short annual report provided by WordPress, our wonderful site host: https://genderaquafish.org/2014/annual-report/

REGIONS

Posts from Asia and Africa were the most prevalent. We also produced posts covering Europe, the Americas, and Oceania. In addition, the gender dimensions of several global documents and events were highlighted, such as the Small Scale Fisheries Guidelines and the fish and food security report of the High Level Panel of Experts advising the UN Committee on Food Security.

PUBLICATIONS

We released the second Special Issue of the Asian Fisheries Science journal (27S), containing papers and the Guest Editorial from our 2013 4th Global Symposium on Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries (GAF4).

PEOPLE

Many of our posts highlighted people active in progressing gender equality in the aquaculture and fisheries sectors (see posts on people). In March, we reported with concern the loss aboard flight MH370 of Dr Chandrika Sharma, the Executive Secretary of the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers, and a driving force in the Small Scale Fisheries Guidelines.

2014 was a big year for Dr Nikita Gopal, who not only was chief editor for the GAF4 Special Issue but also led the programme and operations for GAF5.

THEMES

Aquaculture, organizations, climate change and development were recurring themes in our posts.

EVENTS

Of several 2014 events that included gender sessions, we covered GAF5 (5th Global Symposium on Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries) in most depth. We still hope to also add some information on other 2014 events, especially the 2014 Adelaide World Aquaculture Society conference Women’s Contributions to Aquaculture session and the gender papers of the 2014 IIFET conference in Brisbane.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Our strength on various social media continued to grow slowly, thanks to contributions from many regular friends and readers, and special help from Piyashi DebRoy and Danika Kleiber (our Google Group leaders), Chloe English for assistance on Twitter during GAF5 (@Genderaquafish). Our Facebook page continued to attract good and increasing traffic.

WHAT’S IN THE PIPELINE FOR 2015?

We intend to follow-up on the action items from our GAF5 networks meeting in Lucknow in November. This work includes some great innovations for this website. Stay tuned!

Asian Fisheries Science publishes Special Issue of GAF4 papers

A fishing family in the Pichavaram mangroves, Tamil Nadu, India, taking part in a gendered ecological economics  study by Piyashi DebRoy and colleagues. Photo: Piyashi DebRoy.

A fishing family in the Pichavaram mangroves, Tamil Nadu, India, taking part in a gendered ecological economics study by Piyashi DebRoy and colleagues. Photo: Piyashi DebRoy.

Charting the progress on gender equality in aquaculture and fisheries, this Asian Fisheries Science journal Special Issue gives a reasonably upbeat assessment, despite the huge challenges, especially for women.

Based on the 2013 4th Global Symposium on Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries (GAF4), Dr Nikita Gopal, the chief Guest Editor, said that “gender is now more firmly on some key policy agendas, is embedded in certain major normative international documents, such as the Small Scale Fisheries Guidelines, and is receiving early institutional, policy and donor support. Attention is also being given to methodological and methods development as more practitioners engage in gender work.” The Guest Editorial, however, points out that gender will not be fully integrated into programs and institutions until agencies face up to implementation challenges such as lack of leadership and resources, and the fish sector recognizes the worth of engendering fisheries. Dr Gopal pointed out that “the current position is still much better than when researchers and activists were still struggling to get gender on the agenda, which was the assessment by experts after the 2011 GAF3 Symposium.”

The Special Issue containing GAF4 papers can be downloaded for free , in total or by individual papers. Click here for the links.

Women lead team that wins Indian technology award

We are pleased to highlight this recent Indian technology award to a team of largely women professionals. Congratulations to Dr Leela Edwin, Dr Nikita Gopal and Dr Meenakumari and their colleagues!

CIFT Press Release, July 2014

Shri Ananth Kumar, Hon'ble Minister for Chemicals & Fertilizers, Govt. of India, presenting the  Award to Dr. Leela Edwin, Team Leader and other team members (from left Dr. Ajith Peter, Dr. Nikita Gopal, Dr. B. Meenakumari & Dr. Saly N Thomas). Shri Nihal Chand, MoS, looks on. Photo: CIFT

Shri Ananth Kumar, Hon’ble Minister for Chemicals & Fertilizers, Govt. of India, presenting the Award to Dr. Leela Edwin, Team Leader and other team members (from left Dr. Ajith Peter, Dr. Nikita Gopal, Dr. B. Meenakumari & Dr. Saly N Thomas). Shri Nihal Chand, MoS, looks on. Photo: CIFT

A team of researchers from the Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (CIFT), Kochi, received the 4th National Awards for Technology Innovation in Petrochemicals & Downstream Plastics Processing Industry (Runner Up) in the field of Polymer Science and Technology from Hon’ble Minister of Chemicals & Fertilizers, Govt. of India, Shri. Ananth Kumar. Also present was Shri. Nihal Chand, MoS, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers, Govt. of India. The award was presented on July 17, 2014 at a function held at Manekshaw Centre, New Delhi. The award instituted by the Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, Government of India, was presented to the team for their work on “Upgradation of Treated Rubberwood Using FRP Sheathing for Fishing Boat Construction”. Dr. Leela Edwin, Principal Scientist and Head of Fishing Technology Division is the team leader. Others in the team are Dr. P Muhamed Ashraf, Dr. Nikita Gopal, Dr. M Ajith Peter, Dr. A Sreeja, Dr. Saly N Thomas and Dr. B Meenakumari.

A fibre reinforced plastic (FRP) rubberwood canoe. Source: CIFT

A fibre reinforced plastic (FRP) rubberwood canoe. Source: CIFT

To learn more about the invention, read more here, and read the economic assessment.

“Technology Evaluation Model for Rural Innovations – Case Study of Rubberwood Fishing Craft for the Small-scale Fisheries Sector” by Nikita Gopal, Leela Edwin in Fishery Technology, Vol 50, No 4 (2013).

E-mail: Nikita Gopal Nikita.Gopal@gmail.com

Abstract: The use of rubberwood (Hevea brasiliensis) for fishing craft construction is an innovation introduced by the Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (CIFT), Cochin, Kerala, India. Technology evaluation is an integral part of any technology development to place the technology in its proper perspective. This paper presents a simple model of evaluating the technology by describing the Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (PME) cycle and assessing impact through patent profiling, cost evaluation and looking at the social benefits. It has been observed that introduction of the technology has made available an alternative timber to the traditional boat building industry. Reduction in cost of construction to the tune of 28% and overall reduction of 35-40% in maintenance costs has been possible. FRP sheathed rubberwood fishing crafts are maintenance free. A patent profiling of the technology revealed that for use of rubberwood in traditional fisheries for canoe construction, there are no patents except for the ones filed by CIFT. Social benefits include availability of a cheap fishing craft for fishing operations which is the sole livelihood option of the traditional fishermen.

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: