CGIAR Gender News

Hearing and empowering women in a changing world

Holly Holmes Photo: WorldFish

This blogpost highlights 2020 research outputs of the gender research theme of the CGIAR Research Program on Fish Agri-Food Systems led by WorldFish. Here, we focus on gender research relating to ocean governance, research design during COVID-19, value chain constraints, and the political economy of aquatic food systems. 

Equitable ocean governance

Oceans are important to everyone, yet access to ocean resources is seldom shared equitably. Many of the benefits are accumulated by a few, while most harms from development are born by the most vulnerable.

In 2020, the High-Level Panel for Sustainable Ocean Economy (known as the Ocean Panel), consisting of 14 serving world leaders, commissioned a blue paper to examine the role of equity in securing a sustainable ocean economy.

Gender equality was a key theme in the Towards ocean equity blue paper, given the invisible inequities many women face in small-scale fisheries.

“Despite their contributions, women are little recognized in the sector and often marginalized in the management of marine resources. This is due to gender-blind policies, and a focus on formal and paid fishing activities or the production segment of fisheries value chains,” said co-author Dr. Danika Kleiber, formerly a research fellow with WorldFish and the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, and now a social scientist with the NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center.

“In several countries, women face barriers to profitable segments of supply chains and/or access to fishing grounds, boats, fishing gear, financial capital, credit, education, and alternative livelihoods. Women and minority groups also face access barriers to governing institutions and are not accounted for in fisheries management,” said Kleiber.

Based on the latest science and cutting-edge thinking, the paper identifies 12 opportunities for action, including key areas to improve gender equality.

“When governments and agencies engage in development activities, they must recognize the rights and needs of women, along with other marginalized groups, and invest in capacity building, education, and training programs,” said co-author Afrina Choudhury, a research fellow at WorldFish.