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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.

Question & Answer

Interview with Ujjwala Jaykishan Patil (ujwalapatil@gmail.com), President, MMKS’ Women’s Wing, Mumbai, India

By Priyanka Mangela (rajeshmangela26@gmail.com), Managing Director, District Fisheries Cooperative Society, Mumbai

What major challenges do women fish vendors in Mumbai face?

Our fish markets have no basic infrastructural facilities like clean and sanitary workspaces, fish storage facilities or toilets for women to use. The fish landing sites in villages lack proper access to auction areas, and facilities for disposal of waste fish. This lack of infrastructure directly affects the livelihoods of women fish vendors.

How have fish vendors organized to respond to these challenges?

There are around 25,000 fish vendors in Mumbai. Most of them are members of the women’s wing of the Maharashtra Machchimar Kruti Samiti (MMKS), a cooperative organization representing all fish workers. The MMKS has been continuously representing the demands women fish vendors for better facilities with the fisheries authorities. They have als