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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

A step forward: A film on women fishworkers in India

This film explores the role of women fishworkers in selected regions of India. It looks at some of the problems they face in their daily work and the initiatives they…

Workshop on gender and coastal fishing communities in Latin America 10-15 June 2000, Prainha Do Canto Verde, Ceara, Brazil, Proceedings

This document carries a report of the workshop. It also includes background papers from Chile, Mexico, Peru and Brazil that were prepared for the workshop, detailing the situation of women…

Women first: Report of the women in fisheries programme of the ICSF in India

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This Dossier is being published in two volumes. Volume I contains details of Women in Fisheries in the different States of India. Volume II contains tabulated data relating to women’s…

Women for sustainable fisheries: Report of the first phase of the women in fisheries programme of ICSF

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This draws on reports from seven countries to arrive at an understanding of the issue of gender in fisheries. In the process, it questions traditional norms in male-dominated fishworker organizations,…

Globalisation, gender and fisheries: Report of the Senegal workshop on gender perspectives in fisheries

This series contains the report of the concluding workshop of the first phase of the Women in Fisheries programme of ICSF. Held in Rufisque, Senegal, in June 1996, the Workshop…

Conversations: A trialogue on power, intervention, and organization in fisheries

This book is the collaborative outcome of three individuals who have worked to build organizations of fishermen and fishworkers since the late 1960s. Aliou Sall from Senegal, Michael Belliveau from…

Public hearing on the struggles of women workers in the fish processing industry in India, 23 and 24 June, 1995, Kerala, India

First in the series on Women in Fisheries, this puts together documents relating to a unique Public Hearing, held at Cochin, India in June 1995, on the problems faced by…

Globalisation, gender and fisheries: Report of the Senegal workshop on gender perspectives in fisheries

This series contains the report of the concluding workshop of the first phase of the Women in Fisheries programme of ICSF. Held in Rufisque, Senegal, in June 1996, the Workshop…

Recasting the Net: A review of the literature on women in the fisheries 2nd Draft: July 1, 2010

The present paper is intended to be a background paper for the workshop titled “Recasting the net: Defining a gender agenda for sustaining life and livelihoods in fisheries”. This review…

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

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…

Empowering women in small-scale fisheries for sustainable food systems

 In March 2020, a regional inception workshop was held in Ghana a project of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Norwegian Agency for Development…

The Fisheries Sector in the Gambia: Trade, Value Addition and Social Inclusiveness, with a Focus on Women”

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This report looks at the fisheries and fish-processing sector in The Gambia. The objective is to identify socially inclusive and gender responsive development strategies for the sector.

Women of the Shore

In the island of Mindoro, fishing villages have been suffering from less fish day by day as women give birth to more and more children. This documentary explores the need…

Social protection to foster sustainable management of natural resources and reduce poverty in fisheries-dependent communities, Report of the FAO Technical Workshop

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This document provides a summary of the presentations, discussions, conclusions and recommendations of the workshop on “Social protection to foster sustainable management of natural resources and reduce poverty in fisheries-dependent…

Women in small-scale fisheries in Tanzania: Challenges and opportunities

This video case study explores the challenges that women involved in fisheries activities face on a day to day basis in Tanzania: What successes have they achieved? How can their…

Role and place of women in fisheries value chain: Case of Dagaa fishery in the Lake Victoria

The video explores the role and place of women along fisheries value chain: The significance and values their involvement in fisheries brings to the communities and fisheries development. Why are…

Community Fisheries Organizations of Cambodia:  Sharing processes, results and lessons learned in the context of the implementation of the SSF Guidelines

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Part 1 documents a national consultation process on small-scale fisheries which took place in 2012 to inform the development of the SSF Guidelines. Part 2 consists of a scoping study…

Towards gender-equitable small-scale fisheries governance and development – A handbook by Nilanjana Biswas

This document was developed to support gender-equitable small-scale fisheries by enhancing the understanding of their gender dimensions, with a focus on the specific role and conditions of women in the…

Gender in coastal and fisheries resource management: A Regional Synthesis Report

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The study provides a number of evidence based arguments and recommendations that help elaborate exactly why gender equality is fundamental in coastal and marine resources management…

Women’s Economic Empowerment and WTO Trade Negotiations: Potential Implications for LDC, SVEs and SSA Countries

This explores the possibility of incorporating gender issues into multilateral trade negotiations at the WTO, as well as discussing the likely implications for least developed countries (LDCs), small, vulnerable economies…