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A "feminist perspective" in fisheries builds on the fact that women of fishing communities take on multidimensional roles that straddle both production and reproduction...


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Issue No:43
  • :ISSN 0973-1156
  • :July
  • :2013
  • :English

Whether in South Africa, Chile, Uganda or India, as this issue of Yemaya shows, women in the small-scale and artisanal fisheries are confronting growing challenges in their daily lives. Caught between bureaucratic governments and exploitative markets, on the one hand, and male-dominated fisheries associations and violent neighbourhoods and homes, on the other, for most women in the sector, life can be a hellish struggle. While women usually cope by drawing upon inner strength or turning to one another for help, if in the sector as a whole, women are to ever gain justice and their rightful place in society, much more is needed.

Africa / South Africa

Shifting livelihoods

As the fisheries in South Africa and Mozambique go through rapid changes, communities adapt to coastal resource use in distinctly gendered ways

By Philile Mbatha (phililembatha87@gmail.com), Environmental Evaluation Unit, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Rural coastal communities in South Africa and Mozambique have, for long, harvested resources such as fish, and forest and agricultural products, to support themselves and their families. Although communities in both countries are culturally diverse, they share histories of colonialism, with manifest inequalities and vulnerabilities arising from the apartheid era in South Africa and civil war in Mozambique influencing the nature of livelihoods pursued by these communities. Research conducted by a colleague, Mayra Pereira, and me in these two countries, highlights the distinctive gendered nature of these livelihoods, and how in a dynamic coastal and fisheries context, women and men’s choices, options and adaptive responses differ.

In both countries, livelihood options for women are limited. Most of their livelihood