Category Archives: Research, communication resources

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!

Results of M.C. Nandeesha Photo Competition announced in Kochi

22 November 2017

The winners of the three prizes for the M.C. Nandeesha Photo Competition were announced in Kochi during the GAF-India event at the 11th Indian Fisheries and Aquaculture Forum. Judged by online voting and a panel of 4 members of the Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries Section, in addition to the prizes, 5 Highly Commended entries were named.

We thank all the entrants whose wonderful photos made the judges and voters jobs very difficult. Congratulations to the 3 winners and those whose photos were Highly Commended.

Here are all the results. Visit the competition page to see all the photos.

FIRST PRIZE 002. Women participate in fish harvesting (From aquaculture pond Tripura, India). Photo: Vikash Kumar, ICAR-Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute, Barrackpore, Kolkata, West Bengal

First Prize: Vikash Kumar, ICAR-Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute (ICAR-CIFRI), Barrackpore, Kolkata, India.

002. Women participation in fish harvesting (From aquaculture pond Tripura, India)

Second Prize: Ranjan Manna, Principal Scientist, ICAR-Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute, Barrackpore, Kolkata, India.

 010. Equal contributor: Catching fish using gill net from a river in Indian Sundarban

Third Prize: Deepjyoti Baruah, Senior Scientist, ICAR-Directorate of Coldwater Fisheries Research, Bhimtal, Nainital, Uttarakhand, India.

 044. Women in Assam fishing for food security

Highly Commended: Pradip Kumar Mahato, Graphic artist, India.

 058. Mending Lives Together. Description: The photo was taken at a fishing harbour in West Bengal, India, where men and women were found sharing responsibilities in mending fishing nets.

Highly Commended: Tabrez Nasar, Dean, Institute of Livelihood Research and Training, India.

 004. Male entrepreneurs from Meghalaya learning from women entrepreneurs in Jharkhand, India.

Highly Commended: Renju Ravi, Marketing Assistant, National Institute of Fisheries Post Harvest Technology and Training (NIFPHATT), Foreshore Road, Ernakulam, Kerala, India.

025. More than equality, striving for a livelihood

Highly Commended: Suvra Roy, Scientist, ICAR- Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute, Barrackpore, India.

 003. Women participation in sorting and grading of fishes after catch (from coastal region of Sundarbans)

Highly Commended: Neelkanth Mishra, CEO, Centre for Aquatic Livelihood -Jaljeevika, Pune, India.

020. Netting Destiny: Hidden faces of women in fisheries

A gendered approach to nutrition-sensitive homestead pond polyculture

By Sarah Castine and Shakuntala Thilsted

Left: Women preparing mola (Amblypharyngodon
mola). Right: pool barb or jat punti (Puntius sophore) showing nuptial coloration during spawning time. Photos: Shakuntala Thilsted.

A recent paper: “Homestead pond polyculture can improve access to nutritious small fish” published in the journal Food Security1 investigates an aquaculture production system in Bangladesh which is tailored towards improving nutrition and is accessible to and can be managed by women.

In Bangladesh, and many parts of rural south Asia, women’s movements outside the homestead are restricted and they spend much time at home taking care of children and other family members, food preparation and other household chores. Access to nutritious foods in these households can be limited, resulting in poor diets and little dietary diversity which can contribute to undernutrition. A nutrition-sensitive approach to homestead pond polyculture, engaging both women and men has been introduced by WorldFish and partners. This includes polyculture of small and large fish species in homestead ponds, vegetable production in homestead gardens and on pond dykes, nutrition education and gender equity, in terms of work load and food distribution. This approach allows for increased household income from sale of produce as well as increased access to and intake of nutrient-rich small fish and vegetables, with focus on women and children in the first 1,000 days of life.

Different modes and methods were applied in order to engage both female and male household members. Women and men, in groups of 20-25 received training in fish and vegetable production, nutrition and gender equity. Lead farmers, both women and men conducted training and supported the households in the activities. In some cases, women were specifically trained in harvesting small amounts of small fish for household consumption and in preparing dishes with nutrient-rich small fish for young children.

The paper describes that homestead pond polyculture, with small and large fish, using a nutrition-sensitive approach can have outstanding nutrition and health benefits, especially for women and young children. For adoption of the nutrition-sensitive pond polyculture approach, engaging all household members and providing both women-only training and combined women and men training should be applied. Women were engaged in pond polyculture, spending up to 25 minutes per day on tasks such as fish feeding, pond preparation and maintenance. Lead female farmers described that their physical mobility in the community gave them a better status and a feeling of being valued. An analysis of the dynamics and power relations between women and men with regard to work load and income earned from nutrition-sensitive pond polyculture is needed to gauge how this approach impacts women’s status within the household and in the community. Strong partnerships with the nutrition and health sector, government organisations and the private sector will ensure quality training of household members and wide dissemination of this aquaculture production system.

  1. Castine, Sarah A., Jessica R. Bogard, Benoy K. Barman, Manjurul Karim, Md. Mokarrom Hossain, Mrityunjoy Kunda, A. B. M. Mahfuzul Haque, Michael J. Phillips and Shakuntala H. Thilsted. 2017. Homestead pond polyculture can improve access to nutritious small fish. Food Security 9:785–801.

 

“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

 

Videos capture women in action in the seafood sector

The results of the Women in Seafood video competition are now out and all the videos can be viewed through this WSI website link.

map image

Click this link to go to the interactive map and open the videos. The videos are interesting, often inspiring, and all are short and to the point, ranging from 2 to 5 minutes.

Congratulations to the competition winner Carmen Pedroza-Gutiérrez for her video, “The Women of Petatán,” a very thoughtful set of interviews with women fish filleters as they worked on processing piles of fish to prepare them for the market. The video was made in Petatán , Michoacán, Mexico.

Other videos were:

Contributions by women in the fisheries of five major fishing countries

Women shrimp traders in Mazatlan, Mexico. Photo: Maria Cruz-Torres

A recent paper published in Coastal Management (Contributions by Women to Fisheries Economies: Insights from Five Maritime Countries) investigates the contribution by women to fisheries economies in Mexico, Peru, Senegal, South Africa, and Vietnam.

Through an exhaustive review of data and literature on women and fisheries, the authors of this paper, Sarah Harper, Charlotte Grubb, Margot Stiles, and Rashid Sumaila, take stock of what is known about women in the fisheries sector of these five countries. From the available information, women appear to make substantial contributions to the fisheries sector and related economy; however, these contributions are not always visible in an economic accounting or policy sense. For example, indirect participation in all five countries was mainly measured by statistics for processing and retail activities, as little information was available for the many other activities of women that support fishing households, e.g., book keeping, gear repairs, and provisioning for fishing trips.

The paper highlights major gaps in the availability of sex-disaggregated data on participation in fishing activities through the fish value chain and suggests the need for improved national-level data collection for the development of gender-sensitive fisheries policies and programs.

Download the paper : link (Institutional access may be required; lead author’s e-mail: sjmharper@gmail.com )

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