Category Archives: Research

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

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.

GAF6: Registration

1444189934_inland10Registration is still open for the 11th Asian Fisheries and Aquaculture Forum (11AFAF), to be held in Bangkok, Thailand from 3-7 August 2016. During this Forum, the 6th Global Symposium on Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries (GAF6) will be held.

If you haven’t already registered for GAF6 (through the main 11AFAF website) then do so here – 11AFAF.

Taking advantage of the location of 11AFAF and the lead partners, the overall theme is: ASEAN Seafood for the World & Asian Food Security for the World.

GAF6 themes can be found here

New working group “Gendered Seas“ studies the role of women in fisheries over time

Kathleen_Schwerdtner-Manez_100px (1)By Kathleen Schwerdtner Mánez

As part of the European project Oceans Past Platform, a new working group on gender and fisheries history has been established. See our video introduction on Youtube.

Gendered Seas will explore the different roles and responsibilities of women and men in the exploitation and management of living marine resources over time. As most research in fisheries history has turned a blind eye on women, our working group fills a major gap in the understanding of fisheries systems and their development. Watch the video to find out more about our us, or contact me directly: kathleen.schwerdtner(at) zmt-bremen.de

How to Mainstream Gender in Small Scale Fisheries: Lessons from Experience

Learning better household budgeting, Cambodia. Photo: RFLP

Learning better household budgeting, Cambodia. Photo: RFLP

The FAO-Spain Regional Fisheries Livelihoods Programme for South and Southeast Asia has taken their more formal gender materials (especially the RFLP gender mainstreaming manual) and their on the ground experience and produced this attractive, easy to read and yet very rich guide to what to do.

Get the guide here: Download

The clear lessons from experience include:

1. Don’t get lost in translation (of technical gender terms)

2. Think gender from the start

3. Study first, then decide

4. Consider quotas for women’s participation

5. Take the time and effort (and get the men involved)

6. Consider participation of women in traditional ‘men’s’ activities

7. Beware the double burden

8. Be flexible (make training convenient for women)

9. Get the right support

10. Alternative fisheries livelihoods are often women’s livelihoods

11. Collect gender-disaggregated data

12. Spread the good word

Essential new tool for projects: Mainstreaming gender into project cycle management in the fisheries sector

New from the Spain-FAO-RFLP!

Women play a significant role in fisheries, yet lack of attention to gender roles and relations can result in policies or programmes failing to improve livelihoods or reduce vulnerability of fishing communities. The largely ‘invisible’ role of women in small-scale fisheries must be addressed if actions aimed at improving the livelihoods of small-scale fishers and their families are to be successful.

‘As part of its efforts to promote gender equity to improve fisheries livelihoods, the Regional Fisheries Livelihoods Programme for South and Southeast Asia (RFLP) which is funded by Spain and implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN has developed a field handbook that gives guidance on taking gender into account in all phases of small-scale fisheries development projects.

The handbook provides:

  • An overview of the rationale, concepts and approaches concerning mainstreaming gender equality in development cooperation;
  • An overview of the role of women in the fisheries sector, the problems they face and possible empowerment opportunities;
  • Tools for gender analysis in fisheries development projects and guidance on how to integrate gender aspects at various stages in the project cycle.

‘To download the handbook or to browse a magazine-style electronic version please visit gender mainstreaming manual

The RFLP would love to receive your feedback or comments on the new handbook. Please visit the above link to make contact.