Today, people around the world are celebrating the International Day of Rural Women, which recognizes the invaluable contribution of rural women to the sustainability, food security and wellbeing of rural communities. To mark the day, we created and invite you to watch our video tribute to rural women in fisheries and aquaculture.
This year’s theme – ‘Challenges and opportunities in climate-resilient agriculture for gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls’ – acknowledges the gendered nature of poverty and exclusion as exacerbated by the effects of climate change. Our improved understanding of the gender norms at play can help both men and women to work together to improve women’s and girls’ already unequal access to and control over assets and resources such as land, water and energy. It can also enable all of us to make the most of opportunities to minimize and avoid the negative impacts of climate change at individual and community level.
WorldFish, through the CGIAR Research Program on Fish Agri-Food Systems (FISH), is committed to accelerating sustainable rural development through the empowerment and inclusion of women in aquaculture and fisheries. This is exemplified by our Gender Strategy, which embeds gender analysis and research in all our activities.
To have meaningful and lasting impacts at scale, our gender research is undertaken through strategic collaborations with public and private sector partners and – most importantly – with rural women and men themselves.
- For example, in several communities in Bangladesh, our research identified gender-related cultural and technical barriers to women's involvement in fish farming. In response, the WorldFish-led Aquaculture for Income and Nutrition project introduced gill nets, vertical panels of lightweight netting set in a straight line, which allow women to harvest fish quickly and easily from homestead ponds.
- In Egypt, we are working with partners to provide support through skills training, subsidized equipment and access to low-cost credit to help women fish retailers, who are among the poorest of the poor, improve their working conditions and increase their bargaining power and incomes.
- In Solomon Islands, our research on gender norms that inhibit community-based resource management led to a number of important findings. These are providing a starting point for community-led efforts to address the threat of firewood gathering to the conservation and rehabilitation of mangrove ecoystems, which are of critical importance for the food security of many coastal communities.
- Further underlining our commitment to gender equality and women’s empowerment is our sponsorship of the upcoming 7th Global Conference on Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries (GAF7) on 18-21 October 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand. The aim of the conference is to generate greater attention and funding for more gender work in aquaculture and fisheries and emphasize the need to expand gender inclusiveness and equality in the sector.
- Among those participating in GAF7 are several WorldFish gender experts who will present our pioneering gender work in fisheries and aquaculture across Asia, Africa and the Pacific.
Globally, women comprise an estimated 43 percent of the agricultural workforce, while in fisheries and aquaculture women account for about 50 percent of those involved in the sector.
With these numbers in mind, we remain dedicated to continuing our work to help close the gender gap at local, national and global levels, and producing solid scientific evidence to affect transformational social change that is both inclusive and sustainable.