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OUR WORK

Gender in Fisheries

Women tend to a range of activities in fisheries and fishing communities, formal and informal, full-time and part-time, paid and unpaid. They are especially active in pre- and post-harvest activities. In several countries, inland fishing and aquaculture is mostly up to them.

Their roles are dynamic. In fish processing plants they are workers; in families they are caregivers; in the community they work tirelessly to maintain social networks and culture; they work in the non-fisheries sectors to supplement the household income, providing insurance against the often erratic returns from fishing.

They also participate in harvesting activities in many countries. Women made up 14 percent of about 60 million people engaged in capture fisheries and aquaculture in 2018, FAO data shows. They marketed 60 percent of seafood marketed in Asia and west Africa. Still, a lack of data undermines women’s role in fisheries. Small-scale fisheries face discrimination as a sub-sector; within it, women face further marginalization.

Women experience the lack of basic facilities in markets and landing centres; they have limited access to education, healthcare, sanitation, credit and social protection (including social security). They are exposed to sexual violence and other forms of harassment. Often, their reproductive and productive work is not recognized. They are poorly represented in fishworker associations and organizations. They rarely have a say in the decisions of the family, the community and in the governance of their fisheries.

Which is why the feminist perspective seeks to reshape gender relations in fisheries. It asks questions. The gender perspective isn’t merely about women. It envisions a better man-woman relationship, as also an acknowledgement of women’s roles, rights and responsibilities. For this, there’s no one formula. Its realization must take into account conditions of culture, class, race, ethnicity, age and marital status.

The principle of gender equality and equity is endorsed in the SSF Guidelines as a means of strengthening small-scale fisheries.

Current Programmes

2022

A national workshop will be held towards the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines), through capacity building of women fishworker representatives towards the formation of a national platform of women in fisheries in India. The Workshop, to be held at Asha Nivas, Chennai, India, from 8 to 10 April, 2022 is supported by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and organised by the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF) Trust. Key women fishworker representatives from the states of Maharashtra, Goa, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal will attend the Workshop. For more: https://www.icsf.net/resources/india-national-workshop-the-ssf-guidelines-and-the-platform-for-women-in-fisheries

Resources

Report of the Brainstorming Session for the National Workshop on Enhancing Capacities of Women Fishworkers in India for the Implementation of the SSF Guidelines, Ashir Bhawan, Ernakulam, Kerala, 15‐16 May, 2019

Report of the Brainstorming Session for the National Workshop on Enhancing Capacities of Women Fishworkers in India for the Implementation of the SSF Guidelines, Ashir Bhawan, Ernakulam, Kerala, 15‐16 May,…

Report of the National Workshop: The SSF Guidelines and Mainstreaming Gender into Fisheries Policies and Legislation, YWCA of Madras International Guest House, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, 18 to 20 August 2019

A national workshop was  organised  to mainstream gender into the fisheries policies and legislation in India, to implement the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-scale Fisheries in the Context of…

Report on workshop on enhancing capacities of women fishworkers in India for the implementation of the SSF guidelines, 21–23 November 2016, Ashoka Hall, Asha Nivas Social Service Centre, Chennai, India

The International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF) Trust organised a national workshop on ‘Enhancing capacities of women fishworkers in India for the implementation of the SSF Guidelines’ in Chennai,…

Women’s role, struggles and strategies across the fisheries value chain the case of Lake Victoria—Tanzania by Environmental Management and Economic Development Organization (EMEDO) and ICSF

This study was conducted in June and July 2016, in the fishing areas of Mwanza and Kagera regions in the lake Victoria side of Tanzania. The focus of this study…

Report of the round table of women in small-scale fisheries in Goa, 19 February 2017, Panaji, Goa. Organized by International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF) Trust with Saad Aangan

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The workshop was conducted in Konkani, the language of Goa. The programme commenced with a lively song on the fish of Goa sung by Perpet Cardoz, from the fishing community…

Changes in the labour roles of women in the small-scale fishery in Kerala

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This case study seeks to understand and highlight how the changes that have taken place in the fishery of Kerala State have also played out in the lives of women…

ICSF’s journey with Women in Fisheries

‘ICSF’s Journey with Women in Fisheries’ marks a milestone not only in the history of ICSF, an organization that has consistently supported, if not pioneered, work on issues of gender…

Women fish vendors in Mumbai: Study report by ICSF

This has led to a constant demand by women’s-rights’ activists and organizations to address market related issues of women vendors. This study, aims to provide insights into the challenges faced…

Women fish vendors in Mumbai: Report of the workshop on women fish vendors In Mumbai, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), 2-3 December 2012, Mumbai, India

This workshop was a platform to analyze issues facing women fish vendors in Mumbai and to discuss, based on their proposals, strategies that may be adopted to secure their livelihoods. …

Shifting undercurrents: Women seaweed collectors of Gulf of Mannar, India: in English

The 5000 odd women who free-dive to collect seaweed in the Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park off the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu find themselves struggling for their…

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The Fisherwomen of the Saloum Delta: Building gender and climate justice one energy efficient oven at a time

In the Saloum Delta in Senegal, 4,800 women fishers are carrying forward a climate and energy transition in the face of rising water levels, soil salinisation, industrial overfishing and the…

The Hidden Half, Part II – Gender research in Southeast Asia’s fisheries (English Subs)

This video provides an introduction to conducting gender-specific research in Southeast Asia’s fisheries. While the video features communities and workplaces in Southern Mindanao, Philippines, it represents many of the gender…

Valuing invisible catches: estimating the global contribution by women to small-scale marine capture fisheries production

The role that women play in fisheries around the world is receiving increasing international attention yet the contributions by women to fisheries catches continues to be overlooked by society, industry…

The Hidden Half, Part I – Women’s role in Southeast Asia’s fisheries (English Subs)

This video provides an overview of women’s role in the fishing industry in Southeast Asia. While the video features communities and workplaces in Southern Mindanao, Philippines, it represents many of…

The SPC Women in Fisheries Information Bulletin, No.31,

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This 31st issue of the Pacific Community’s Women in Fisheries Information Bulletin includes eighteen original articles from Fiji, Indonesia, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands and Solomon Islands.…

The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2020: Sustainability in action FAO, 2020

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The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture aims to provide objective, reliable and up-to-date information to a wide audience – policymakers, managers, scientists, stakeholders and indeed everyone interested in the…

Gender and the Law of the Sea

While the law of the sea has been traditionally portrayed as a technical, gender-neutral set of rules, of concern to States rather than humans, authors in this volume persuasively argue…

Pacific Handbook For Gender Equity And Social Inclusion In Coastal Fisheries And Aquaculture

This handbook is designed to give practical guidance on improving gender and social inclusion in coastal fisheries and aquaculture for staff working in fisheries agencies in Pacific Island countries and…

Gender Analysis: Ghana’s Artisanal Fisheries 2019

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The present report describes the current state of knowledge on gender roles in Ghana’s artisanal fisheries, and the opportunities to strengthen how the project’s interventions will promote gender equality within…

Report summary fishery workers and the rights to food – A/HRC/40/56 2019

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Those who rely on fisheries for work and serve as the driving force for the realization of the right to food of others, encounter formidable barriers to realizing this right…

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