Wednesday, June 26 • 10:30 - 12:00
Feminist Knowledge poduction in fisheries and coastal research.

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Chaired by: Kleiber, D.

Feminist knowledge production in fisheries and coastal research
Danika Kleiber

Feminist approaches and methods can reframe research, improve data collection methods, and change our understanding of fisheries and coastal communities. In this panel we will focus on the different feminist approaches and methods used to produce novel and inclusive research in coastal fisheries. We will draw on studies done at multiple scales (community, regional, and international), using different approaches (participatory, quantitative synthesis), and focused on different aspects of the nexus of gender and fisheries (value-chain labour, livelihood, and gender norms). This panel is designed to share the emerging feminist methods being employed in coastal research, and also provide concrete examples of innovation and practice that can be adopted and adapted.

Counting women and making women’s work count: an estimate of the contributions by women in small-scale marine capture fisheries production to the global economy
Sarah Harper & Rashid Sumaila

The contributions by women in fisheries economies around the world are often overlooked, in part, because ‘fishing’ is narrowly defined as catching fish at sea, from a boat, using specialized gears. Both men and women are involved in fisheries, but often in different roles and activities. Fisheries research, management, and policy have traditionally focused on direct, formal, and paid fishing activities—that are often dominated by men, ignoring those that are indirect, informal and/or unpaid—where women are more concentrated. As part of a panel on Feminist knowledge production in fisheries and coastal research, I will present my research at the intersection of gender, fisheries, and economics, which uses feminist perspectives and insights to highlight the contributions by women to small-scale fisheries catch and associated economic value worldwide. I will discuss the obstacles and challenges in collating sex-disaggregated data at the national and international level while also identifying opportunities to improve the visibility of women in fisheries through better data collection.

Gender norms and relations: implications for agency in coastal livelihoods
Sarah Lawless, Philippa Cohen &  Cynthia MacDougall

Gender and other forms of social differentiation influence individual agency to access, participate in, and benefit from new or improved livelihood opportunities. To examine gender in rural livelihoods, we employed empirical case studies in three communities in Solomon Islands; a small island developing state where livelihoods are predominantly based on fisheries and agriculture. Using the GENNOVATE methodology, a series of focus-groups, we investigated how gender norms and relations influence agency (i.e., the availability of choice and capacity to exercise choice). We find that men are able to pursue a broader range of livelihood activities than women who tend to be constrained by individual perceptions of risk and physical mobility constraints. We find the livelihood portfolios of women and men have diversified from the past. However, diversity of livelihood choices may limit women’s more immediate freedoms to exercise agency. Our findings challenge the broad proposition that livelihood diversification will lead to improvements for agency and overall wellbeing. In community-level decision-making men’s capacity to exercise choice was perceived to be greater in relation to livelihoods and strategic life decisions more broadly. By contrast, capacity to exercise choice within households involved spousal negotiation, and consensus was considered more important than male or female dominance in decision-making. We suggest that better accounting for gendered differences can present substantial opportunity to catalyze the re-negotiation of gender norms and relations; thereby promoting greater individual agency. This study adds weight to the prevailing global insight that livelihood initiatives are more likely to bring about sustained and equitable outcomes if they are designed based on understandings of the distinct ways women and men participate in and experience livelihood opportunities.

The multiple values of gleaning fisheries

Danika Kleiber

Using an interdisciplinary feminist lens this research examines the multiple values of gleaning. Gleaning is a form of fishing practiced in coastal zones throughout the world, but is often left out of the quantification of small-scale fisheries, in part because the fishery is often dominated by women and other marginalized groups who often not counted in fisheries assessments. In this case we define gleaning as the act collecting marine species in intertidal habitats. This study includes a global review and an in-depth case study in the Central Philippines to examine overall trends in the multiple values of gleaning fisheries, and how those values are gendered. In multiple contexts both women and men glean, however in many cases gleaners were predominantly women, often in groups or accompanied by children. Gleaning fisheries also predominantly targeted invertebrates. In the Philippines, communities with larger intertidal areas had more gleaners. Gleaners were also more likely to be from families with greater food insecurity. Gleaning is often characterized as being a reliable form of fishing, and is often turned to when other forms of fishing are unavailable.

Gendered contributions to food and income from small-scale fisheries in Timor-Leste
Alexander Tilley, Ariadna Burgos, Agustinha Duarte, Joctan dos Reis Lopes, Hampus Eriksson & David Mills

Despite a growing realization that both men and women are important actors in small-scale fishing, gendered contributions for food and income from small-scale fisheries are poorly documented globally. Using participatory fishing diaries, focus group discussions, and landings data from 6 communities in Timor-Leste, we unpack gendered contributions to household food and income. Across all communities, women fish with all the same gear types recorded for men, though the proportional contribution of fishing type by time and income varied considerably between locations. Gleaning was the most frequent, and only activity undertaken at all sites, and showed the highest variance in income rates where mean earnings were $1.10 ± 0.53 /fisher hour. Across all fishing activities, women’s income rate was approximately half that of men, with an average income rate of ~$1.06/fisher hour compared to $2.30/fisher hour for men. However, women’s catch rates were significantly more consistent with a 99% catch success rate, compared to 84% for men. Gleaning trips had a 100% catch success rate, and interestingly, was mostly undertaken with a predetermined motivation for either consumption or sale. Our results corroborate the importance of women’s fishing for food security, but also suggest that the reliability and small-scale nature of the fishery outweigh the small sale volumes, and results in higher mean incomes for women than men across most sites and fisheries. We frame these results in the context of the urgent need to strengthen food and nutrition security in Timor-Leste, alongside a tendency to ignore crucial user groups in fisheries and conservation decision-making. Not only are their activities and catches being ignored, but the traditional ecological knowledge of women fishers is a critically underutilized resource for the stewardship and sustainable development in coastal areas.


Afrina Choudhury

Research Fellow/Senior Gender Specialist, WorldFish
avatar for Alex Tilley

Alex Tilley

Scientist, WorldFish
My research focuses on understanding how better data can lead to improved food systems and livelihoods in aquatic systems. I develop and test digital reporting systems and automatic analytics to obtain reliable near-real time data for adaptive management and empowerment of small-scale... Read More →

Wednesday June 26, 2019 10:30 - 12:00
REC A1.07 Roeters Eiland Complex, University of Amsterdam