Category Archives: Gendered labor studies

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.

Women disadvantaged by how fisheries are structured

The September 2016 issue of Yemaya (Issue 52), the gender and fisheries newsletter of the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF) is full of articles that explore the structural inequalities affecting women in fisheries and aquaculture. This is recommended reading!

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GAF6 Group Photo, 4 August 2016, Bangkok. Yemaya 52 includes a report of GAF6.

Contents (below) and link to Issue 52

  • Gathering cooperation (Costa Rica mollusk gatherers) by Aracelly Jimenez and colleagues
  • Milestones (highlights the new document “ICSF’s Journey with Women in Fisheries”) by Ramya Rajagopalan
  • Fighting invisibility (Brazil’s women on their rights to social security and decent work) by Beatriz Ferrari
  • What a woman! (women are the new “watermen” in Chesapeake Bay, USA) by Mariette Correa
  • Profile of Mercy Wasai Mghanga (Kenyan woman fishworker leader) by Hadley B. Becha
  • Nurturing the eel (inland fisheries management in the Netherlands) by Cornelie Quist
  • Gender inequality: GAF6 asks ‘WHY?’ by Meryl Williams and colleagues
  • The climate for change! (gender discussions at FishAdapt conference) by Meryl Williams and Angela Lentisco
  • Q & A (Interview with Cao Thi Thien, Chairwoman of Hoang Phong Commune
    Women’s Union, Vietnam) by Nguyen Thu Trang
  • Yemaya Mama (The fish value chain cartoon)
  • Yemaya Recommends: El Rol De La Mujer En La Pesca Y La Acuicultura En Chile, Colombia, Paraguay Y Perú Integración, Sistematización Y Análisis De Estudios Nacionales Informe Final = rreview by Vivienne Solis

The influence of exisiting gender and labor patterns on women’s participation in the Island of Chiloé salmon industry, Chile

Chilote women selling home-made empanadas, including those containing salmon, Chiloe Island, Chile. Photo: Latin Chattin http://latinchattin.com/2013/06/05/chiloe-exploring-chiles-largest-island/

Chilote women selling home-made empanadas, including those containing salmon, Chiloe Island, Chile. Photo: Kate Stevenson and Daniel Poulter, Latin Chattin http://latinchattin.com/2013/06/05/chiloe-exploring-chiles-largest-island/

Rapid economic development in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors often relies heavily on local or migrant women workers entering the paid workforce. This has been the case on the Island of Chiloé in southern Chile, one of the areas of intense growth of salmon aquaculture and salmon processing for export.  In their recent paper in the journal World Development, Eduardo Ramírez and Ruerd Ruben examined the pre-existing gender patterns that led to a fast uptake by women of paid employment in the salmon industry.  The area went from a lower than national average rate of women in the workforce in 1996 (26.6% in Chiloé compared to 36.6% nationally) to, in 2009, a higher than national average in (48% vs 43%).

The paper, “Gender Systems and Women’s Labor Force Participation in the Salmon Industry in Chiloé,” reported statistical evidence that women whose husbands previously migrated seasonally for several months, leaving them to do productive “men’s work” such as farming, as well as reproductive work, were more likely to take up paid work than other women. The women whose previous productive work was more conceived locally as “women’s work,” were less likely to take up the new paid work. These more traditional areas of women’s work were shellfish and seaweed harvesting and crafts.

Despite the ingress of women into the paid workforce, however, a gender pay gap still exists, even after adjusting for types of work undertaken by women and men.

Ramírez and Ruben suggest that more studies should look at the effects of territory-specific or local gender systems should be carefully examined and taken into account in labor policies, rather than assuming national heterogeneity.

Download the paper or contact the author, e-mail: eramirez@rimisp.org

To learn more of the background of Chiloe Island and the salmon industry, try these links:

Hayward, P. 2011, ‘Salmon aquaculture, cuisine and cultural disruption in Chiloe’, Locale: The Australasian-Pacific Journal of Regional Food Studies, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 87-110.

Pablo Ibieta, et al. 2011. Chilean Salmon Farming on the Horizon of Sustainability: Review of the Development of a Highly Intensive Production, the ISA Crisis and Implemented Actions to Reconstruct a More Sustainable Aquaculture Industry, Aquaculture and the Environment – A Shared Destiny, Dr. Barbara Sladonja (Ed.). Available from: http://www.intechopen.com/books/aquaculture-and-the-environment-a-shared-destiny/chilean-salmon-farming-on-the-horizon-of-sustainability-review-of-the-development-of-a-highly-intens

Stevenson, K. and D. Poulter. 2013. Chiloe – Exploring Chile’s largest Island. http://latinchattin.com/2013/06/05/chiloe-exploring-chiles-largest-island/

Gender and small-scale fisheries in the central Philippines

People reef gleaning at low tide, Danajon Bank, Bohol Province, Central Philippines. Photo: Danika Kleiber.

People reef gleaning at low tide, Danajon Bank, Bohol Province, Central Philippines. Photo: Danika Kleiber.

In earlier posts on this site, we highlighted papers arising from the work of Danika Kleiber and her colleagues on gender in the Northern Bohol section of the Danajon Bank in the Central Philippines and on a global overview of gender in small scale fisheries. With pleasure, we draw your attention to Danika’s doctoral thesis, recently accepted by the University of British Columbia, Canada, and entitled: GENDER AND SMALL-SCALE FISHERIES IN THE CENTRAL PHILIPPINES. This thesis, as well as its accompanying papers, make a compelling and empirically justified case for the importance of factoring in women’s fishing work in fisheries management, policy and economics.

Here is the link to the thesis

And the links to our two earlier posts on Dr Kleiber’s work:

Counting all the fishers: a global overview

Philippines reef study shows the importance of defining “fishing”

Abstract of Thesis: This dissertation provides new evidence for why women should be included in smallscale fisheries assessments. Women are commonly overlooked in fisheries science and management because they are assumed not to fish, or to fish very little. My research focuses on community-based managed fisheries in the Central Philippines. I begin with a literature review of women’s fishing around the world, revealing that it is common, diverse, and dynamic. Women fishers also often focus on species and habitats different from those in men’s fishing. Notably, however, the review also identified a considerable data gap in quantitative assessments of women’s fishing.

I designed my case study specifically to quantify women’s contributions to the total community catch and effort. I found that women – who totaled 42% of all fishers – generated about one quarter of the total fishing effort and of the catch biomass. Explicit consideration of women’s fishing cast a spotlight on gleaning, an overlooked fishing method in which animals are collected in intertidal habitats. Almost all the women and half of the men gleaned. I found that gleaning primarily targeted sessile invertebrates, and was an important source of food, particularly when other fishing was not available.

Marine management that affects gleaners – such as no-take marine protected areas (MPAs) placed in intertidal areas – needs to consider distinct ecological and social features of gleaning. On that basis, I used a gender lens to examine community-based management in the form of no-take MPAs. In this cultural context resource management is a male sphere, both in perception and in practice. Women were less likely to feel that the MPA had a positive effect on their fishing, with MPAs mostly identified as a management measure for finfish. Women were also less likely to participate actively in MPA management.

In summary, my focus on women should prompt reexamination of how fishing is defined, who counts, and who is counted. Integration of women’s issues into fisheries management requires attention to gleaning, and exploration of alternative management methods. To overlook women, however, creates substantial underestimation of fishing labour and catch – with consequent worsening of our prospects for fisheries management globally.

 

Report recommends integrating fish into food security and nutrition


HLPE-Report-7_Cover-smA new report, Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture for Food Security and Nutrition, has provided probably “the most comprehensive recent attempt to review and synthesize the current knowledge” said Dr Christophe Béné. Dr Béné, of the Institute of Development Studies, chaired the team of the High Level Panel of Experts (HLPE) on Food Security and Nutrition of the Committee on World Food Security that produced the report.

The report recommends that fish need to be fully integrated into all aspects of food security and nutrition policies and programmes. It pays special attention to all dimensions of food security and nutrition and promotes small-scale production and local arrangements, as local markets, e.g. for procuring school meals, and other policy tools, including nutrition education and gender equality.

The report is dedicated to Chandrika Sharma who was one of the peer reviewers of the report.

HLPE Team for fish, food security and nutrition report. Left to right: Gro-Ingunn Hemre, Modadugu V. Gupta, Moenieba Isaacs, Chris Béné, Meryl Williams, Ningsheng Yang and Vincent Gitz (Secretary)

HLPE Team for fish, food security and nutrition report. Left to right: Gro-Ingunn Hemre, Modadugu V. Gupta, Moenieba Isaacs, Chris Béné, Meryl Williams, Ningsheng Yang and Vincent Gitz (Secretary)

Download the report here

Extract of the FOREWORD by Per Pinstrup-Andersen, Chair of HLPE Steering Committee

This report addresses a frequently overlooked but extremely important part of world food and nutrition security: the role and importance of fish in seeking food and nutrition security for all. Fisheries and aquaculture have often been arbitrarily separated from other parts of the food and agricultural systems in food security studies, debates and policy-making. I applaud the Committee on World Food Security for its decision to bring fisheries and aquaculture fully into the debate about food and nutrition security.

The report presents a synthesis of existing evidence regarding the complex pathways between fisheries and aquaculture and food and nutrition security, including the environmental, economic and social dimensions, as well as issues related to governance. It provides insights on what needs to be done to achieve sustainable fisheries and aquaculture in order to strengthen their positive impact on food and nutrition security.

The ambition of this compact yet comprehensive report is to help the international community to share and understand the wide spectrum of issues that make fisheries and aquaculture such an important part of efforts to assure food security for all.

The High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) was created in 2010 to provide the United Nations’ Committee on World Food Security (CFS) with evidence-based and policy-oriented analysis to underpin policy debates and policy formulation. While specific policy interventions should be based on context-specific understanding, HLPE reports provide evidence relevant to the diversity of contexts, with recommendations aiming to be useful to guide context-specific policy interventions.

The main findings of the report cover the themes:

  • Fish as a critical food source
  • Fish has received little attention in food security and nutrition strategies
  • Risks and pressures affecting the world fisheries
  • Opportunities and challenges in aquaculture
  • Small vs large scale fishing operations
  • Unsettled debates on fish trade
  • Social protection and labour rights
  • Gender equity
  • Governance

In the Executive Summary, the report says the following on Gender Equity (paras 27-29; the body of the report contains more detail)

  • 27. The first comprehensive attempt to estimate the number of fish workers found that 56 million, near half of the 120 million people who work in the capture fisheries sector and its supply chains, are women. This is essentially due to the very high number of female workers engaged in fish processing (including in processing factories) and in (informal) small-scale fish trading operations. However, small-scale fisheries and supply-chain jobs outside production are not well recorded, so the actual number of women may be higher. Comparable estimates are not yet available for the 38 million aquaculture sector workers.
  • 28. Gender, along with intersectional factors (such as economic class, ethnic group, age or religion), is a key determinant of the many different ways by which fisheries and aquaculture affect food security and nutrition outcomes, availability, access, stability and diet adequacy, for the population groups directly involved in fish production and supply chains, but also beyond.
  • 29. Men are dominant in direct production work in fisheries and aquaculture. Much of women’s work, such as gleaning, diving, post-harvest processing and vending, is not recognized or not well recorded, despite its economic and other contributions. Gender disaggregated data are not routinely collected and, partly as a result of this, little policy attention is given to women and to the gender dimension of the sector.

In the Recommendations, item 7 addressed Gender Equity with the following recommendation (7)

States should

  • 7a) Ensure that their aquaculture and fisheries policies and interventions do not create negative impacts on women and encourage gender equality.
  • 7b) Enshrine gender equity in all fisheries rights systems, including licensing and access rights. The definitions of fishing must cover all forms of harvest including the forms typically practised by women and small-scale operators, such as inshore and inland harvesting of invertebrates by hand and the use of very small-scale gear.

Women and children first: Gendered and generational change in small scale fisheries in Canada and Norway

Library and Archives, Canada. 1993 postage stamp.

Library and Archives, Canada. 1993 postage stamp.

Barbara Neis, Siri Gerrard and Nicole G. Power have written a reflective paper on the social-ecological systems of cod (Gadus morhua) fisheries in Atlantic Canada and Norway. Their study revealed similarities but also many differences between the ways small scale fishing communities in the two countries have reacted to changes in the fish stocks and the policies that accompanied the changes.

Their paper, “Women and Children First: the Gendered and Generational Socialecology of Smaller-scale Fisheries in Newfoundland and Labrador and Northern  Norway,” draws from the great depth of excellent sociological and gender research over the last decades, including especially their own. It explores the impacts since the late 1980s and early 1990s of the Canadian cod stock collapse and of the introduction of a new type of quota system in the Norwegian part of the Norwegian-Russian cod fishery.

They found that the ecological trajectories were very different in both fisheries – the Canadian cod stock has not recovered, but some other fisheries have prospered in its place, while the Norwegian cod stocks are at a record high. However, policy differences between the two countries resulted in employment decreasing in both countries, with the Norwegian decrease 10% greater than that in the Canadian fishery. Women’s formal engagement in the two fisheries differ, but is generally low, especially in  Norway where they have been less likely to engage in the catching sector. In both places, young people are not entering the fishery, although modest success has been achieved with youth-oriented initiatives in Norway. The age profile of fish-workers is getting older.  Women and  youth face the hurdle of raising sufficient funds to buy boats, licences and quota. The changes are complex and the social and household impacts have emerged in the face of gender and generational blindness in policy-making.

Download the paper here

ABSTRACT. The resilience of small-scale fisheries in developed and developing countries has been used to provide lessons to conventional managers regarding ways to transition toward a social-ecological approach to understanding and managing fisheries. We contribute to the understanding of the relationship between management and the resilience of small-scale fisheries in developed countries by looking at these dynamics in the wake of the shock of stock collapse and fisheries closures in two contexts: Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, and northern Norway. We revisit and update previous research on the gendered effects of the collapse and closure of the Newfoundland and Labrador northern cod fishery and the closure of the Norwegian cod fishery in the early 1990s and present new research on young people in fisheries communities in both contexts. We argue that post-closure fishery policy and industry responses that focused on downsizing fisheries through professionalization, the introduction of quotas, and other changes ignored the gendered and intergenerational household basis of small-scale fisheries and its relationship to resilience. Data on ongoing gender inequities within these fisheries and on largely failed recruitment of youth to these fisheries suggest they are currently at a tipping-point that, if not addressed, could lead to their virtual disappearance in the near future.