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Helping women’s roles in small-scale fisheries be recognised

Environment Programme / Partner story

Photo: © Kate Bevitt / WorldFish

Globally, relatively few data are available about women’s role in small-scale fisheries, despite their active participation as fishers, processors, traders and marketers.

This calls for greater efforts by researchers, national fisheries agencies and global policymakers to collect and report separately on women’s and men’s contributions to this sector.

“When we only collect data on men, we miss half the story. If we want to make informed decisions about our fisheries we need to find ways to count all the people involved,” says Dr Danika Kleiber, a Research Fellow, working with WorldFish and James Cook University on gender and small-scale fisheries, particularly in the Pacific region.

Sex disaggregation ‘should be the default’

Sex-disaggregated data accounts for an individual’s sex – in sampling strategies, in data records and through analysis. Use of these data in research provides a more complete picture of the complexity and reality of small-scale fisheries.

Recognising this, the Illuminating Hidden Harvests research will be filling the data gap using secondary sex-disaggregated data in its global study of the contributions, drivers and impacts of small-scale fisheries.

“We’ll work with local experts to find fisheries-related sex-disaggregated data that shows women’s and men’s participation in fisheries, but also the benefits they derive from fisheries such as livelihood and nutrition,” says Kleiber, who is co-leading the Illuminating Hidden Harvests’ gender analysis.

“We know women contribute – we want to be able to say how, and how much.”

– Dr. Danika Kleiber, Research Fellow with WorldFish and James Cook University

Led by WorldFish, the FAO and the Nicholas Institute of Duke University, the study is expected to be published in late 2020 and will be the most comprehensive understanding of small-scale fisheries globally.

This area of work falls under Oak Foundation’s Environment Programme, in the marine conservation sub-Programme. Find out more about the Programme and its sub-Programmes here.