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Gender Roles


When we think of small-scale fisheries, images of fishermen casting their nets off wooden boats in the ocean might come to mind. But, what about women?


Often unacknowledged, women actually make up almost half of the overall fisheries sector workforce. Throughout the value chain, you can find women involved in harvesting, processing, marketing, trading seafood and leadership roles.


As critical links between ocean to table or lake to plate,  women play a critical and substantial role in fisheries but it's one that's largely unrecognized in management policy and programs. Similarly across many sectors, long-standing gender inequalities impede women from fully participating in economic opportunities and decision-making. If almost half the workforce is held back, ultimately the entire potential of the fisheries sector is restricted. Moreover, a narrow understanding of women’s unique roles and contributions has concluded in a failure to recognize their distinctive needs and interests within governance and even, conservation initiatives.  

Through participatory media workshops and interviews, our collaborative goal is for women in fisheries to increase their own visibility in the sector through documentation of their roles and for researchers to gain a more nuanced understanding on the ways women benefit from small-scale fisheries while contributing towards their sustainability and management. 

Hầu hết mỗi buổi sáng tại bãi biển chợ cá Mũi Né, điều là những phụ nữ buôn bán tại vì phụ nữ rất rất giỏi về việc buôn bán ở biển. Còn những người nam đi đánh bắt cá vì họ giỏi về việc đánh bắt.

Almost every mornings on the beach at the fish market, women trade fish because women are very good at trading the sea, and men go fishing because they are good at fishing.

- Phụng

Artisanal Fisherman & Water Sports Instructor

Women in Fisheries


Video on the critical roles women play in small-scale fisheries.

- Buying fish from a fisherman and selling directly at the landing site

- Accounting

- Working as a family unit to pull in the nets

- Mending and fixing equipment

- Selling fish at the market

- Why is it unlucky for men to have a woman on their boat?

Gender also determines the roles and responsibilities of men and women in fishing activities. Women generally spend hours wading in the water using pushnet and dragnet, in clam collection and in freshwater macrophytes harvesting for aquaculture feed (Lan, **** this issue). Most mobile gear fishing activities are done by women, either alone (pushnet and clam collection) or together with men (dragnet and aquaculture). In Phu Tan, men often hire out their labour for 'heavier' activities such as farm work and helping aquaculturists harvest their ponds or net enclosures (Binh, ***this issue). 

Many women feel or understand their role in the fishery is a duty within their household rather than a job within the sector. 

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