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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:54
  • :May
  • :2017
  • :English

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which replaced the Millennium Development Goals, set new targets for sustainable development by the year 2030. Among the SDGs, SDG 14, which specifically calls for the sustainable use of marine resources, is the focus of the upcoming United Nations Ocean Conference, scheduled to take place in New York from 5 to 9 June 2017. This conference is extremely relevant for the fisheries sector, given the large number of powerful stakeholders currently seeking control over marine and fisheries resources. In the context, it is important to emphasise that there are several factors that are crucial in determining the sustainable development of these resources. A major factor is the role of women in fisheries.

Studies of small-scale fisheries across the globe show how women contribute to the sustainability of the fisheries sector. They also show that where women have greater agency, they contribute to improving value addition and productivity in the sector. In the context, SDG 5 that emphasizes gender equality and empowerment of women and children is very important, not only for equity and for the rights of women, but also from the perspective of sustainable economic growth in small-scale fisheries.


Gender equal fisheries

What are the challenges in the path of achieving gender equality in fisheries and what should our priorities be? This article tries to identify these in the context of SDG 5, the Sustainable Development Goal on gender equality

By Meryl J Williams (meryljwilliams@gmail.com), is Chair/Coordinator of GAF, Queensland, Australia

Global, United Nations-led initiatives such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have the potential to highlight and give direction to human development needs by mobilizing people and resources towards common ends. But to translate these aspirations into real change in a place, a sector and for a particular group of people will require more specific mobilization than that envisaged in the rather general actions and indicators now emerging.

How are fisheries and aquaculture organisations responding to the call of the 17 SDGs? In 2016, when Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) biennial Committee on Fisheries (COFI) meeting addressed the SDGs for fisheries and aquaculture, they focused most attention on SDG 14—conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and m