Global strategy on equality within aquaculture

Support for equal opportunities for women in fisheries and aquaculture

The event was organised by the General Secretariat of Fisheries of the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Spain).

Women, internationally, have a prominent role in the territories where fishing and aquaculture activities take place. They are present in all the productive segments, from extractive activity to industry, as well as aquaculture, administrative management, diversification or research and development and innovation processes. Therefore, they contribute in an essential way to the generation of wealth and employment, to the preservation of marine and freshwater ecosystems, and to the maintenance of the population in rural and coastal areas; even with a majority presence in activities such as the transformation and commercialisation of fishery products. Despite this, their work has historically been poorly recognized and they face common problems in terms of professional training, occupational risks, or lack of access to resources and activities traditionally carried out by men.

Promoting gender equality in aquaculture

Global strategy on equality

In this sense, it is fundamental that the different countries collaborate in the search for answers to these challenges through a global strategy on equality that will improve the situation of women in the fishing activity, in which all the agents involved participate: public administrations, international organisations, sectoral entities and associations of women sea workers.

According to the World Bank, 47% of the 120 million people worldwide who work in extractive fishing and subsequent areas of activity such as processing or sale are women, while in aquaculture this figure reaches 70%. This represents about 56 million female jobs throughout the value chain, although very few hold leadership positions. Therefore, we must work together to overcome the gender barriers that have traditionally impeded the dignity and value of the work of this human capital worldwide, in order to guarantee the future of a maritime-fishing sector that seeks to grow and be sustainable from the social, economic and environmental point of view.

Blue growth strategy

These are the foundations of the blue growth strategy, in which women have a special role as they develop activities that favour conservation of resources, biodiversity, innovation, competitiveness, development of efficient value chains and, ultimately, improvement of livelihoods in fishing communities.

Spain desires to contribute to this global strategy with this International Conference, by promoting dialogue and sharing of knowledge and reflections on the situation of women in the fishing sector. Therefore, this meeting will feature thematic workshops and exhibition areas aimed at the exchange of experiences, projects and good practices.

11-point declaration

1. To incorporate the gender perspective in designing, executing and monitoring policies and sectoral strategy framework in a way that the specific impact of the problems and interests of women within the sector are taken into account, establishing mechanisms that ensure their participation in decision-making procedures.
2. To increase efforts on statistics in order to foster data categorised by sex for all fisheries and aquaculture subsectors. This will help to identify possible gender gaps and prevent the undervaluation of women’s work, both on a quantitative and qualitative level.

3. To fight against pre-established gender roles within the sector that put women at a disadvantage or make them inferior to men, considering and concerning several Administrations, entities and socials agents involved in fisheries and aquaculture activities.

4. To foster a fair access to the productive, economic and financial resources that guarantee that women have the goods and resources needed for preforming their tasks within the sector available to them.

5. To improve the working conditions of women within the sector, fighting against the informality and precariousness of women’s work, segregation both horizontally and vertically, the wage gap and barriers that hinder the reconciliation of work, family and personal life.

6. To guarantee the social protection and safety of workers (women and men) in the sector and to provide professional dignity to their activity so that it can be considered “decent work”, according to the ILO definition. And, to this end, to promote the international legal framework for decent work in fisheries, with a view to ensuring that the world’s 38 million fishers working on board commercial fishing vessels enjoy decent working and living conditions.

7. To increase women’s recruitment and access to training in fisheries or aquaculture, as well as in other complementary matters and areas of knowledge such as new technologies or business management, so that they can professionally develop, improve their working conditions and their promotion opportunities.

8. To encourage female entrepreneurship and business initiatives within the sector, enabling public budgets and making it easier to access grants, credits or other funding sources, as well as appropriate training and advice for the implementation of projects favouring the sustainable development of fishing communities or areas.

9. To break down structural barriers that hinder the incorporation of women into activities where they have historically been underrepresented (such as extractive fishing on board) and, by means of adequacy, from the gender perspective, of working facilities or areas.

10. To guarantee regulatory frameworks that safeguard equal treatment and non- discrimination, as well as implementing mechanisms and instruments for monitoring and enforcing such principles, preventing situations in which women’s rights are violated or the power relations between the sexes are abused.

Source: International Conference of Women in Fisheries

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