Treaty of Rome calls for a common policy for fisheries.
Maritime affairs and fisheries
Relevance of gender in the policy area
The European Union (EU) fisheries sector, the third largest in the world, provided approximately 6.6 million tonnes of fish in 2012. About 400,000 people in the EU have a full or part-time job in fishing and fish processing. EU fisheries policy promotes sustainable fish stocks and a sustainable marine ecosystem as a precondition for a competitive European fishing industry. Quotas for fishing have been established for each EU Member State to maintain sustainable fishing stocks. Each year these quotas are renegotiated based on changes in stocks.
Fishing and fish processing are male-dominated activities in Europe. Men provide the main labour on board fishing vessels, and the majority of fishing boats and aquaculture farms are owned by men. However, in most fishing communities women play a key role and make significant contributions to the industry. Despite their contribution, women remain largely invisible and their roles unacknowledged. Indeed, the statistics grossly underestimate the reality of women’s work in some of these sectors, and the widespread economic crisis in some Member States has led to a growing number of women engaging in activities in the fishing sector, particularly land-based shellfish gathering, as a means of complementing or ensuring their family income.
According to the European Parliament, in 2014 more than 100,000 women worked in the fisheries sector in Member States. Of these women, 4% work in the extractive sector and in jobs linked to the activities of fishing boats (as net makers, port workers or packers), 30% work in aquaculture (chiefly shellfish gathering on foot), and around 60% work in the processing industry.
Unfortunately, the existing statistical data shows employment within the fisheries sector only if this employment is declared and remunerated. There are many problems associated with the figures available for this visible employment. In addition to women whose status is declared and remunerative, there are many other ‘invisible’ women workers in the fisheries sector. This category includes spouses, life partners, mothers, sisters and daughters, who play an active role in family fishing or aquaculture enterprises. Unpaid work by women in support of fishing family enterprises has long been seen as significantly important. In some regions, it’s probably the major connection that women have with the fishing (i.e. fish capture) subsector. The types of activity in which women are involved range from what are clearly senior management tasks to basic administration (accounting, relations with banks, fisheries administration and organisations, etc.). In addition to this, women are responsible for childminding, household-management tasks and other support provided to a family fishing concern (especially when the husband or male partner is at sea).
All the above aspects are also reflected in the decision-making role women play in the fisheries sector. From the mid-1990s onwards, the spouses of those employed in the fisheries and aquaculture sector began to gather to form independent organisations. This trend continued into the first decade of this century. However, the initiatives undertaken by women’s associations vary from country to country and depend on the financial support they receive.
Gender inequality in the fisheries sector is influenced by a set of factors, which are as follows:
- participation of women and men in fisheries subsectors
- women’s invisible work in the fisheries sector
- women’s participation in decision-making.
Issues of gender inequalities in the policy area
Participation of women and men in fisheries
In terms of employment, the fisheries sector plays a vital role in many European coastal areas and represents almost half of local jobs in some areas. Southern European countries have more jobs in the fisheries sector than northern countries. Fisheries activity involved 116,000 people in the processing industry and 69,000 people in the aquaculture sector in Europe in 2012.
Men dominate employment in the fisheries sector, although employment of women is significant in some specific subsectors. Women are employed in the catching sector, in aquaculture farms (mainly shellfish farming) and processing factories, in fish and shellfish sales and within the bodies that manage the fisheries sector ([Frangoudes, K., 2011], [Zhao, M. et al., 2013a], [Zhao, M. et al., 2013b]). Information from the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF), based on the data gathered under the data collection framework (DCF), indicates that in 2009, 28% of those employed in the aquaculture subsector and 57% of those employed in the processing subsector were women. The number of women employed within the catching subsector of the fisheries industry was not calculated. In all these categories, the existing statistical data only record employment within the fisheries sector (fisheries harvesting, aquaculture and processing). As mentioned above, figures available for employment declared and included might be not reliable, as not all employment is visible.
Women’s invisible work in the fisheries sector
As indicated above, besides women who are formally employed in the fisheries sector, there are other women whose work is ‘invisible’. This category includes spouses, life partners, mothers, sisters and daughters who play an active role in family fishing or aquaculture enterprises. These women are rarely remunerated and their efforts remain unacknowledged by society. Attempts at European level to recognise their contribution have only recently been successful, therefore they are absent from both national and European statistics.
Access to a legal status for all assisting spouses will provide formal recognition of these women’s contribution to fisheries enterprises. It will give fisherwomen greater visibility in society. At the same time, it will push national fisheries authorities to recognise women’s participation in the fisheries sector. The ‘collaborative spouse’ status (EU Directive 86/613) was a major step forward. This status, when available, gives women access to social benefits which in turn provide cover during maternity leave, pension rights, training and many other social benefits. However, this status is not yet available to all eligible women in the European Union. Indeed, some Member States have yet to accord this status to fisherwomen, despite the efforts of fisherwomen’s organisations and the available EU directives (such as Directive 2010/41/EU).
Participation in decision-making
For many years, women working in the fishing industry were excluded from professional organisations representing workers in the industry. Male-dominated organisations considered women to be useful only in the social aspects of fisheries (helping families). This is changing gradually. In some countries (Finland, France and Spain), women have been accepted into these traditionally male-dominated organisations through the collaborative spouse status (CSS) or professional recognition. For example, after obtaining professional status, on-foot shellfish gatherers in Galicia built their own organisations, which became members of male-dominated umbrella organisations. Later they were ‘accepted’ as part of the executive board of the fishers’ organisations (Cofradias). French women who opted for the CSS could join male-dominated organisations (fisheries and shellfish farming committees) in place of their husbands.
Fisherwomen’s organisations are calling for the inclusion of women in decision-making processes relating to resources management, which are usually dominated by men. The application made by some fisherwomen’s organisations to become members of fisheries organisations was unacceptable to their male counterparts as the seats were allocated to the fisheries sector. Women were not deemed to be part of the fisheries sector, as they did not harvest the fish directly. The men were of the view that women could have the seats on the councils that were allocated to non-governmental organisations representing civil society. This possibility was granted a few years later, following a decision by the Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE), after a demand formulated by the European network AKTEA. Fisherwomen’s organisations now have a greater likelihood of being included in European organisations such as the regional advisory councils (RACs) for fisheries management, which were established in 2004.
Gender equality policy objectives at eu and international level
The European Strategy for equality between women and men for the period 2010 – 2015 refers to women in fisheries. It mentions the need to “support MS [Member States] in promoting gender equality in the EFF [European fisheries fund] programmes by drawing lessons from the mid-term evaluation”. It calls for the establishment “of a pan-European network of women active in the fisheries sector and in coastal regions to improve the visibility of women in this sector and establish a platform for the exchange of best practices”.
The European fisheries fund (2007 – 2014) affirms the principle of the promotion of equal opportunities between women and men in the fisheries sector and fisheries areas (Art. 4g). Several articles explicitly mention the need to promote gender equality:
- Art. 8.2: “Member States shall establish a broad and effective involvement of all the appropriate bodies, in accordance with national rules and practices, taking into account the need to promote equality between men and women”.
- Art. 11: “The Member States and the Commission shall ensure that equality between men and women and the integration of the gender perspective are promoted during the various stages of implementation of the EFF, including the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation”.
- Art. 15.2g: “The national strategic plan … set[s] out the priorities, objectives, the estimated public financial resources required and deadlines for its implementation with particular regard to the strategy for preserving human resources in the fisheries sector, in particular through upgrading professional skills, securing sustainable employment and enhancing the position and the role of women”.
- Art. 19 (i): “In the preparation of the operational programme ... Member States shall take into account the promotion, during the various stages of the implementation of the operational programme, of gender balance in the fisheries sector through operations aiming, in particular, at reducing gender-based segregation in the labour market”.
- Art. 37 (k): “The EFF may support measures of common interest which are implemented with the active support of operators themselves or by organisations acting on behalf of producers or other organisations recognised by the Member State and which aim, in particular, towards networking and exchange of experience and best practice among organisations promoting equal opportunities between men and women and other stakeholders”.
Moreover, Axis 4 (sustainable development of fishing areas) funds are managed by fisheries local action groups (FLAGs), partnerships between fisheries actors and other local private and public stakeholders. Together, they design and implement a bottom-up strategy that fits and addresses their area’s needs to increase economic, social and environmental welfare. Member States planned a gender dimension under Axis 4, which focused on the economic development of coastal areas, and women could benefit as economic agents of local development.
Most Member States repeated the principle of equal opportunities as it was written into the regulation. Some, however, went further and suggested specific actions to enhance the role of women in fisheries and strengthen the role of fisherwomen in local development. The European fisheries fund, in operation from 2007 – 2014, was replaced in 2014 by the European maritime and fisheries fund (EMFF), which has adopted a similar approach. The gender dimension is recurrent in the new European maritime fisheries fund (2014 – 2020). European fisheries structural funds promote gender equality first within the regulation texts but also through the financial support of projects run by or for women. Point 8 of the EU regulation on the EMFF states: “The Union should, at all stages of implementation of the EMFF, aim to eliminate inequalities and promote equality between men and women, as well as to combat discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.”
In some sections, the regulation gives examples of specific actions in favour of women: “Investment in human capital is also vital to increase the competitiveness and economic performance of fishing and maritime activities … In recognition of their role in fishing communities, spouses and life partners of self-employed fishermen should, under certain conditions, also be granted support for professional training, lifelong learning and the dissemination of knowledge, and for networking that contributes to their professional development” (European Parliament and the Council of the European Union, 2013, point 31).
To promote human capital, the creation of jobs and social dialogue, the EMFF calls on Member States to support “networking and exchange of experiences and best practices between stakeholders, including among organisations promoting equal opportunities between men and women, promoting the role of women in fishing communities and promoting under-represented groups involved in small-scale coastal fishing or in on-foot fishing.” This action refers to fisheries and aquaculture Articles 29 and 50. For the first time, and in accordance with Regulation 2010/41/EU, the EMFF expands the scope of its support “to spouses of self-employed fishermen or, where and insofar as recognised by national law, the life partners of self-employed fishermen, under the conditions laid down in point (b) of Article 2 of Directive 2010/41/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council. The same principle is available in fisheries and aquaculture.”
In 2005, the European Parliament adopted a resolution related to women’s networks in fisheries, agriculture and diversification. The resolution stated that “women’s active participation in fisheries-related activities helps to preserve cultural traditions and specific practices and aids the survival of their communities, thereby ensuring the protection of cultural diversity in these regions”. The parliament called on the Commission to produce a report identifying the nature, extent, objectives and activities of women’s networks in fisheries throughout the EU. The Commission was to examine specific measures to provide active support for both the development of existing women’s networks, particularly where they are less consolidated, and their creation where no such networks exist. The parliament also called, inter alia, for actions to increase and disseminate information on the situation of women in the various areas that make up the fisheries sector:
- to support existing women’s networks and the creation of new networks
- to develop training and access to funding and loans to encourage entrepreneurship
- to strengthen women’s effective participation in representative, decision-making and advisory fisheries bodies at European, national and regional level.
Directive 2010/41/EU of the European Parliament and the Council of 7 July 2010 on the application of the principle of equal treatment between men and women engaged in an activity in a self-employed capacity gave visibility to women’s unpaid contribution within family enterprises, including fisheries. Assisting spouses or life partners of fishers are now able to contribute to social security, which gives them access to social benefits including pensions, maternity leave, training and access to professional fishers’ organisations. Spouses and partners of fisherwomen in some Member States obtained this status thanks to the directive.
Directive 2010/41/EU on the application of the equal treatment between men and women engaged in an activity in a self-employed capacity (and repealing Council Directive 86/613/ECC) provides the legal framework to recognise women’s informal contribution to fisheries and aquaculture enterprises. The directive is to be applied to national laws.
The directive is to be effectively implemented in the fisheries sector with the objective of recognising women’s invisible contribution and offering them the opportunity to access social benefits such as pension rights, maternity leave, training and decision-making. Suggestions to undertake gender studies at the local level to identify women’s activities within fisheries enterprises and quantify this activity are provided. A document describing women’s activities and time spent should be produced to convince the authorities regarding women’s involvement in the sector, leading to legislative modifications and allowing women to gain collaborative spouse status. The EU directive should be applied to national law. Checks should also be in place to ensure that it’s also being applied to women in the fisheries sector.
In 2014, the European Parliament approved a resolution on specific actions in the common fisheries policy for developing the role of women. In this resolution, the European Parliament urges the Commission to, inter alia:
- launch a specific statistical programme for regions that depend on fishing, paying particular attention to artisanal and coastal fishing, traditional fishing methods and specific marketing channels
- improve the collection and analysis of statistical data on employment in the fisheries sector, broken down by gender
- ensure the collection of gender-disaggregated data also covering the catch sector and introducing new indicators
- establish clear definitions regarding the statistical indicators used for the collection of workforce employment data in fisheries, aquaculture and related sectors
- grant legal and social recognition of the role played by women in the fisheries and aquaculture sector and in the sustainable development of areas that depend on fishing
- recognise that the work carried out by women helps to improve the traceability of fishery products
- foster and provide financial support for the establishment of women’s associations through national and European women’s networks, in order to increase the visibility of women in the fishing sector and to facilitate access to funding for women’s organisations in fisheries, aquaculture and related sectors
- promote and strengthen women’s effective participation in consultative bodies, advisory councils and decision-making, representative, regional and professional bodies, guaranteeing their participation in decision-making in both public and private sectors on equal terms with men.
Chapter 17 of Agenda 21 (1992) on oceans and coastal areas is an international policy document with a focus on women in fisheries. It calls on states to support the sustainability of small-scale coastal fisheries by taking into account the interests of fish workers, ship owners, women, local communities and indigenous peoples. In 1992, the convention on biological diversity reiterated the need for the participation of women at all levels of policymaking and implementation for the conservation of biological diversity. The 1995 UN Fish Stocks Agreement (straddling fish stocks and highly migratory fish stocks) calls on states to ensure access to subsistence fisheries for artisan and small-scale coastal fishers and women fish workers.
The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (1995) pays attention to women working in the fisheries sector. Actions could be taken to promote women’s economic independence including employment, and to eradicate the persistent and increasing burden of poverty on women by addressing the structural causes of poverty. This can be achieved through changes to economic structures and ensuring equal access to the labour market for all women, including those in the fisheries sector.
In several objectives, actions for improvement in the situation of women are suggested, in particular in terms of combating poverty, eradicating illiteracy and facilitating access to resources:
- Strategic objectives A.1. Review, adopt and maintain macroeconomic policies and development strategies that address the needs and efforts of women in poverty: formulate and implement policies and programmes that enhance the access of women agricultural and fisheries producers.
- Strategic objectives B.3. Improve women’s access to vocational training, science and technology, and continuing education: increase training in technical, managerial, agricultural extension and marketing areas for women in agriculture, fisheries, industry and business, arts and crafts, to increase income-generating opportunities and women’s participation in economic decision-making.
- Strategic objectives K.3. Strengthen or establish mechanisms at the national, regional and international levels to assess the impact of development and environmental policies on women. Provide technical assistance to women, particularly in developing countries, in the sectors of agriculture, fisheries, small enterprises, trade and industry to ensure the continuing promotion of human resource development and the development of environmentally sound technologies and women’s entrepreneurship.
Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)
Gender equality is central to the mandate of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO). This is to achieve food security for all by improving agricultural productivity, levels of nutrition and the lives of rural populations. This means the FAO will work towards gender equality in all areas of its work:
- food and nutrition security
- agriculture and consumer protection
- economic and social development
- fisheries and aquaculture
- forestry, natural resource management and environment
- technical cooperation
- knowledge exchange
- research and extension.
Working simultaneously towards gender equality and the empowerment of women as agricultural and fisheries producers is central to the FAO’s effort to accomplish its goals. The FAO policy on gender equality serves as a framework to guide the FAO’s work on gender equality. It supports women’s roles in agriculture and fisheries, and mainstreams gender equity in all of its programmes.
The FAO’s voluntary guidelines for securing sustainable small-scale fisheries in the context of food security and poverty eradication, approved by the FAO in 2014, represent a crucial shift in the conception of the fisheries sector. Worldwide small-scale fisheries contribute about half of global fish catches, and up to two thirds when catches for direct human consumption are included. Inland fisheries are particularly important and “small-scale fisheries employ more than 90% of the world’s capture fishers and fish workers, about half of whom are women”. The guidelines recognise:
- the importance of adhering to human rights standards and gender equality as fundamental to development
- the vital role of women in small-scale fisheries, and that equal rights and opportunities should be promoted
- the importance of encouraging women’s leadership and the elimination of prejudicial gender-based customary practices.
How and when? ‘Maritime Affairs and Fisheries’ and the integration of the gender dimension into the policy cycle
The gender dimension can be integrated in all phases of the policy cycle. For a detailed description of how gender can be mainstreamed in each phase of the policy cycle visit EIGE's Gender mainstreaming platform.
Below, you can find useful resources and practical examples for mainstreaming gender into research policy. They are organised according to the most relevant phase of the policy cycle they may serve.
In this phase, it’s recommended that information is gathered on the situation of women and men in a particular area. This means looking for sex-disaggregated data and gender statistics, as well as checking for the existence of studies, programme or project reports, and/or evaluations from previous periods.
Example of gender and fishery statistics
The European Union labour force survey (EU-LFS)
The European Union labour force survey (EU-LFS) provides the main aggregated statistics on labour market outcomes in the European Union. The EU-LFS is the main data source for employment and unemployment. Tables on population, employment, working hours, permanency of job, professional status etc. are included. It provides disaggregated statistics by sex, age groups, economic activity, education attainment and field of education, from which it’s possible to measure the presence of women working in the fishery sector.
Examples of studies, research and reports
Women in fisheries: a European perspective
The report gives an overview of the situation faced by women in the fisheries and aquaculture sector in Europe and the prerequisites for improved gender mainstreaming. It presents and discusses the available data on female employment in the sector, the problems faced by women’s fisheries organisations and their future prospects. It also proposes that the impact of the EFF on the promotion of gender equality should be evaluated, and outlines the expectations vested in the EMFF. As part of the research conducted for this study, FLAGs received a questionnaire on the importance of gender in their strategies and the extent to which women are benefiting from Axis 4.
The economic performance of the EU aquaculture sector - 2012 exercise (STECF-13-03)
The report on the European Union Member States’ aquaculture sector contains some basic gender-disaggregated data on employment in the production segment of aquaculture. Although the statistics are incomplete, they nevertheless provide some useful information. Women’s participation varied greatly by country and the EU averages tended to be dominated by patterns in France and Spain.
Economic performance of the EU fish processing industry sector (STECF-OWP-12-01)
Gender in aquaculture and fisheries, May 2013.
EU 2011 employment statistics show that numbers of women and men are almost evenly balanced, in terms of numbers of fish processing jobs. Looking at different countries, however, the figures differ. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland have more than 60% of women as fish processing employees, whereas Malta and the UK have more than 60% of male employees. In Europe, fish processing employs about 150,000 people. France, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom supported the largest workforces, with more than 10,000 each.
Quist C. (ed), Frangoudes K. and O’Riordan, B., 2010 - ICSF-AKTEA WIF 2010: strengthening the voice of women of fishing communities in Europe
This report contains a summary of the workshop of 13/02/2010 Recasting the net: defining a gender agenda for sustaining life and livelihoods in fisheries and aquaculture, and the synthesis reports by countries: Azores (Portugal), France, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Northern Ireland (UK), Portugal and Spain. There is a French version of the workshop’s summary.
Frangoudes K., 2013 - Women in fisheries: a European perspective
This note gives an overview of the current situation faced by women in the fisheries and aquaculture sector in Europe and the prerequisites for improved gender mainstreaming. It presents and discusses the available data on female employment in the sector, the problems faced by women’s fisheries organisations and their future prospects. The note also proposes that the impact of the EFF on the promotion of gender equality should be evaluated, and outlines the expectations vested in the EMFF.
Harper S., Zeller D., Hauzer M., Pauly D. and Sumaila R. U., 2013 - Women and fisheries: contribution to food security and local economies
This work summarises existing knowledge on women’s participation in marine fisheries globally, and estimates their contribution in the Pacific Region. While women’s role varies between geographic regions, in the Pacific women account for 56% of annual small-scale catches, resulting in an economic impact of $363 million (total revenue: $110 million). Recognising and quantifying the role of women in fisheries has profound implications for management, poverty alleviation and development policy.
Frangoudes K. et al., 2008 - The role of the women in the sustainable development of European fisheries areas
Women play an important role in fisheries, including fishing, aquaculture and processing of aquatic products. They have been very active in self-organising and networking to promote gender equality in many different areas across Europe. They are also a major actor in the diversification of fisheries enterprises income, resulting in the creation of new opportunities in areas affected by the decline of fishing. The report reviews best practices observed in the fishing areas of 14 EU countries. It also recommends actions for use of the European fisheries fund as an instrument to support and promote initiatives for women in European fisheries areas, particularly under Axis 4 of the EFF.
Frangoudes K., Keromnes, 2008 - Women in Artisanal Fisheries in Brittany, France
French fishers’ wives play an important role within fisheries enterprises by undertaking different tasks such as administration, repairing fishing gear and selling fish. This informal contribution became legally recognised with the creation of collaborative spouse status (CSS) in 1998. Katia Frangoudes and Enora Keromnes discuss the diverse contributions of women to Brittany fisheries and the reasons that push women to opt or not opt for legal status.
Britton, E., 2012 - Women as agents of wellbeing in Northern Ireland’s fishing households
This paper focuses on the gender dimensions of wellbeing in fishing households in Northern Ireland. The impact of change in the fishing industry on women’s wellbeing is outlined and linkages are made between changing access to fish and changing roles of women in fishing households. The paper explores what this change means for how women perceive and pursue their wellbeing needs and aspirations and how they negotiate their needs with the needs of the household. In particular, the paper highlights how such priorities link to the complex and dynamic role of women in fishing households.
Frangoudes, K., Marugán-Pintos, B., Pascual-Fernández, 2008 - From open access to co-governance and conservation: the case of women shellfish collectors in Galicia
This paper analyses the process of transformation of on-foot shellfish gathering in Galicia, an activity that has traditionally been developed mainly by women without formalisation. However, in recent decades this situation has changed. Nowadays, many areas where this activity flourishes are in a situation of active co-governance with fishery organisations, with a type of formal licence system. Shellfishery organisations plan and control the shellfish gathering with the support of the government, even using seeding techniques to regenerate areas that were previously degraded. Over the last decade, they have avoided shellfish overexploitation and have managed the marketing of the shellfish much better than before. The article emphasises that the role of the government in this has been decisive, investing in training and capacity building. The empowerment of women has been an essential element, which has also enhanced the social valuation of the activity. This case may exemplify the possibilities open for progress in potential co-governing situations.
Zhao M., Tyzack M., Anderson R. and Onoakpovike, 2013 - Women as visible and invisible workers in fisheries: a case study of Northern England
This paper is based on an externally-funded research project on women’s roles and contributions in fisheries conducted in Northern England in 2010. The paper analyses some of the major roles played by women and their contribution in four selected sectors: capture fishing, families and communities, trading, processing and management/administration.
IRIS & Greenwich Maritime Institute, 2010 - Women in fisheries – final report
Women play a wide range of roles in the fisheries industry making significant contributions across sectors. However, there is a significant gap in knowledge about women in English fisheries today, as identified in the literature review conducted at the early stage of the study. This study aims to help close this knowledge gap and to inform policymaking with evidence-based information. This was collected and analysed by the Women in Fisheries (WIF) Team from Greenwich Maritime Institute, the University of Greenwich and IRIS Consulting between January and April, 2010.
Did you know that EIGE has a Resource and Documentation Centre? Check whether there is relevant information to feed into your analysis.
One of the first steps to take when defining your policy/project/programme is to gather information and analyse the situation of women and men in the respective policy area. The information and data you collect will allow an understanding of the reality and assist you in designing your policy, programme or project. Specific methods that can be used in this phase are gender analysis and gender impact assessment.
Examples of gender analysis
FAO - Mainstreaming gender into project cycle management in the fisheries sector
This manual has been prepared to facilitate gender analysis and project planning in fisheries development projects. It’s intended to be a toolkit to help project managers and implementing counterparts (such as government and non-government field workers, and private- and public-sector development consultants, community organisers and leaders of local groups), to facilitate the integration of gender issues into the project cycle.
FAO - Mainstreaming gender in fisheries and aquaculture. A stocktaking and planning exercise
This document is the final report on the mainstreaming of gender in fisheries and aquaculture. A stock taking exercise contains two outputs arising from the following activities: (i) consultancy work on a stocktaking and planning exercise on gender mainstreaming in fisheries and aquaculture, and (ii) a stockt aking and planning exercise on gender mainstreaming in fisheries and aquaculture.
Example of a gender impact assessment
FAO - Regional fisheries livelihoods programme for South and Southeast ASIA (RFLP)
Indonesia gender impact assessment of the RFLP interventions in Indonesia for regional fisheries livelihoods programme for South and Southeast Asia.
Gender issues have been mainstreamed by the regional fisheries livelihoods programme (RFLP) and considered as crosscutting issues. The present assessment looked at how the interventions have changed the roles of beneficiaries in domestic, productive and community management roles. In addition, the assessment covered the degree of participation of women in the conducted activities. Focus group discussions with selected beneficiaries, who represent the five national level outputs of RFLP, were conducted in the areas of interventions in Kupang District, Kupang Municipality, Rote Ndao and Alor districts.
Consider consulting stakeholders (e.g. gender experts, civil society organisations) on the topic at hand, to share and validate your findings and to improve your policy or programme proposal. This will enhance the learning process on the subject for all those involved and will improve the quality of the work done at EU level. The stakeholders consultation process will start in this phase, but could also be considered as an important method to be applied along all the policy cycle’s phases.
Examples of stakeholders that can be consulted
European network AKTEA
The establishment of the European network AKTEA in 2005, grouping together fisherwomen’s organisations, illustrates the collaboration between fisherwomen and social scientists working in the field of fisheries. AKTEA is the result of a three-year programme with women in fisheries within the framework of a European research programme called FEMMES. One of the main objectives of AKTEA is to facilitate the exchange of experiences between European fisherwomen’s organisations and to lobby at the EU level for the rights of fisherwomen. The main action of the network was the modification of Directive 86/613/EEC, the inclusion of partners and also the obligation to apply the directive at national level. Fortunately both amendments were included in Directive 2010/41/EU, replacing the previous one. AKTEA, like all women’s organisations, is based on voluntary work, which makes their functioning and survival difficult. Requests submitted for EU financial support were unsuccessful.
Red Española de Mujeres en el Sector Pesquero (The Spanish Network of Women in the Fishing Sector)
The Spanish Network of Women in the Fishing Sector is a national organisation sponsored by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment. This network was established under the initiative of the Secretariat General for Fisheries (Ministry of Agriculture, Food and the Environment) and financed by the EFF (Axis 5). The network aims for the integration of women into all activities within the fisheries sector, to increase the visibility of women and to promote equal opportunities within the sector. It’s the only existing network supported by national and European public funding. It’s also unique because it is the only fisherwomen’s organisation established from the top down, whereas all others were based on bottom-up initiatives.
The UHAINA Association
The Uhaina Association is a local group composed of women and families employed in the fishery sector in the region in the Ports of Hendaye, Ciboure, Saint-Jean-de-Luz , Bayonne and Capbreton .
North Sea Women’s Network
This is an organisation that unites women from fishing communities around the North Sea to find solutions to common problems and issues within fishing communities. The network deals with training, education, advice etc. It has a seat on the executive committee of the North Sea and Pelagic Regional Advisory Councils (RACs) where it acts as a socio-economic watchdog. The network heads up the socio-economic focus group of the NSRAC.
In this phase, it’s appropriate to analyse budgets from a gender perspective. Gender budgeting is used to identify how budget allocations contribute to promoting gender equality. Gender budgeting brings visibility to how much public money is spent for women and men respectively. Thus, gender budgeting ensures that public funds are fairly distributed between women and men. It also contributes to accountability and transparency about how public funds are being spent.
When planning, don’t forget to establish monitoring and evaluation systems, and indicators that that will allow measurement and compare the impact of the policy or programme on women and men over the timeframe of its implementation. Remember to define the appropriate moments to monitor and evaluate your policy.
Example of an indicator for monitoring gender and fisheries
Lack of sex-disaggregated data in maritime affairs and fishery is a major problem in adopting gender-oriented policy in this field. While the European Commission made efforts to collect data disaggregated by sex, many of the indicators used in the field are not disaggregated this way. However, the following are useful indicators for measuring gender inequalities in the fisheries sector.
Percentage of women employed in the maritime and fisheries sector by sex
Participation of women in the fishery sector is quite low. The figure may be derived from the percentage of women employed in fishery and aquaculture, based on Eurostat data. According to recent data (2014), the number of women involved in fishery and aquaculture is 19,800 (12.9% of the total workforce), while for men it’s 134,100 (87.1%). Data are available on the Eurostat labour force database (Eurostat, LFS, table ‘Employment by sex, age groups and economic activity (from 2008, NACE Rev. 2 two digit level).
When preparing calls for proposals in the framework of funding programmes, or terms of reference in the context of public procurement procedures (notably for contractors to be hired for policy support services), do not forget to formalise gender-related requirements. This will ensure the projects and services which the European Commission will fund are not gender-blind or gender-biased.
In the implementation phase of a policy or programme, ensure that all who are involved are sufficiently aware about the relevant gender objectives and plans. If not, set up briefings and capacity-building initiatives according to staff needs. Think about researchers, proposal evaluators, monitoring and evaluation experts, scientific officers, programme committee members, etc.
Example of capacity-building initiatives about gender and fisheries
French Fisherwomen - Certificate of collaborative spouse for maritime fisheries enterprises
Training proved the best tool to assist in organising or professionalising women (creating a profession or skills to manage family enterprise). French fisherwomen, after the experience of different types of training related to enterprise management, decided to seek training that provided them with a specific nationally recognised diploma. The national federation of fisherwomen asked the French authorities to add a maritime course to the existing certificate of collaborative spouse (Brevet de Conjoint Collaborateur d’Entreprise Artisanale – BCCEA). The introduction of modules focusing on fisheries and aquaculture in the curriculum serves to provide fisherwomen with access to an official state diploma that enables them to seek employment in other economic sectors. The case made by the women was successful in 2007 with the issue of a ministerial decree and the creation of the diploma called the certificate of collaborative spouse for maritime fisheries enterprises, which is equivalent to the high-school diploma. Women who opt for collaborative spouse status (CSS) can follow the course under certain conditions.
FARNET - Guide 1, Area-based development in EU fisheries areas.
This publication also promotes equal opportunities.
A policy cycle or programme should be checked both during – monitoring, and at the end – evaluation, of its implementation.
Monitoring the ongoing work allows for the follow-up of progress and remedying unforeseen difficulties. This exercise should take into account the indicators delineated in the planning phase and realign data collection based on those indicators.
At the end of a policy cycle or programme, a gender-sensitive evaluation should take place. Make your evaluation publicly accessible and strategically disseminate its results to promote its learning potential.
Example of a monitoring and evaluation on gender and fishery
World Bank - Gender in fisheries and aquaculture.
This paper provides indicators that might be used when monitoring gender issues in fisheries and aquaculture.
Practical examples of gender mainstreaming in maritme affairs and fisheries
In France a fisheries law was debated in parliament in 1995. Spouses of fishers initiated the issue of formal recognition of women’s contribution to the family fishing enterprise. In their view, the legalisation of the collaborative spouse status (CSS) would give women an opportunity to represent their family enterprise and community on representative bodies. It would also give them access to social security and other social benefits – in the agriculture sector spouses were already entitled to such a status. Fisherwomen’s associations lobbied politicians at the national level and obtained the CSS with the fisheries law of 1997. This decision gave women the opportunity to join fishers’ organisations and access training schemes, the right to maternity leave, and to build pension rights.
At the beginning of the 1990s, 90% of shellfish gatherers in Galicia were women. They were working informally (illegally) and without any recognition, social benefits or access to professional fishers’ organisations. With the support of the Galician fisheries authorities, women who gathered shellfish on foot succeeded in regulating their activity through a licensing system, providing each permit-holder with a quota. Professional training programmes were organised by the regional authorities to improve women’s knowledge and skills through EU structural funds. Women understood that it’s important to become professional fishers and have access to a social security system. They also built their own local organisations and became members of fishers’ organisations. Currently some of these women are leading fishers’ organisations.
Following the example of women shellfish gatherers, another group of women undertook the same process for professionalisation: women net makers in Galicia. The work of these women was very poorly paid, with no access to opportunities that would help them improve their professional skills; as a result, many of them gave up the work. Once more, with the support of regional fisheries authorities, meetings were organised, bringing these women together at the regional level to discuss their working conditions and their ambitions for the future. Following this process a regional organisation of women net makers was established with the intention of gaining professional recognition and improving working conditions. Through government-sponsored training programmes, net makers aimed to improve their skills and explore new business opportunities.
The key milestones in EU fisheries policy are presented below.
Principle agreed of equal access to Member States’ waters except for a coastal band.
Extension of fishing rights from 12 to 200 nautical miles.
Common fisheries policy (CFP) formally established; first regulation agreed, and introduction of total allowable catches (TACs), quotas and structural policy.
First review of the CFP, and intention to redress the balance between stocks and resources.
Report of the United Nations conference on environment and development (Rio de Janeiro, 3 – 14 June 1992), chapter 17. Protection of the oceans, all kinds of seas, including enclosed and semi-enclosed seas, and coastal areas and the protection, rational use and development of their living resources, A/CONF.151/26 (Vol. II), 13 August 1992. Read it here.
United Nations. Agreement for the implementation of the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 relating to the conservation and management of straddling fish stocks and highly migratory fish stocks, A/CONF.164/37, 8 September 1995.Read it here.
Council of the European Communities, Green Paper: The future of the common fisheries policy (COM 135 final 1), 20 March 2001.
Second review of the CFP; revised basic regulation to protect and conserve marine ecosystems; structural reform with public funds and creation of regional advisory councils (RACs).
European Parliament, Resolution of the Parliament related to women’s networks in fisheries, agriculture and diversification (2004/2263(INI)). Read it here.
Council Regulation (EC) No 1198/2006 of 27 July 2006 on the European fisheries fund. Read it here.
Third revision of CFP; conservation and fleet policy pillars.
FAO, policy on gender equality attaining food security goals in agriculture and rural development. Read it here.
European Parliament. Motion for a European Parliament resolution on specific actions in the common fisheries policy for developing the role of women (2013/2150(INI)). Committee on Fisheries Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (A7-0070/2014) 30.1.2014. Read it here.
Regulation (EU) No 508/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 on the European maritime and fisheries fund. Read it here.
FAO, voluntary guidelines for securing sustainable small-scale fisheries in the context of food security and poverty eradication. Read it here.
Current policy priorities in the fisheries sector at EU level
At fisheries level the most important priority is the implementation of the new common fisheries policy (CFP) and the financial aid – European maritime and fisheries fund (EMFF) – related to this policy. The new CFP has been effective since January 2014. The European Commission is supervising the preparation of the national strategic plans and the operational programmes related to the fund. The EMFF, as all the other development funds, have been operational since the beginning of 2015.
The CFP’s four main policy areas are:
- Management of fish stocks: the aim is to ensure high long-term fishing yields for all stocks by 2015 where possible, and at the latest by 2020. This is referred to as the maximum sustainable yield. Another increasingly important aim is to reduce unwanted catches and wasteful practices to the minimum or avoid them altogether. The management will be more focused on regionalisation and stakeholder consultation. Fisheries management can take the form of input control, output control or a combination of both (European Commission, DG MARE, 2014b).
- Alignment with international policy: European fishing boats currently catch more than 25% of the fish outside EU waters. Around 8% of these catches (2004 – 2006) are made under fishing agreements with countries outside the EU, while another 20% are taken on the high seas, mainly in regions under the care of regional fisheries management organisations. Alignment with the Law of the Sea and International Fisheries Law and good governance in the global fisheries sector includes close cooperation with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations system, including the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) (European Commission, DG MARE, 2014c).
- Market and trade: sustainability and self-regulation by the stakeholders in the sectors are important elements of the new market and trade policy in fisheries.
- The funding of the policy: the EMFF has a budget of around €5.749 billion for the period 2014 – 2020. It will support the rebuilding of fish stocks and the progressive elimination of wasteful discarding. Priorities for the new fund are improving fisheries data collection – allowing decisions to be based on robust evidence – and reducing the impact of fisheries on the marine environment. It will also focus on fisheries control programmes to ensure that the rules on responsible and sustainable fishing are complied with. The EMFF will also focus on the integrated maritime policy by investing in identifying and addressing barriers that hinder growth in coastal communities and emerging maritime sectors (European Commission, DG MARE, 2014e).
Want to know more?
Selected policy documents relevant to the maritime and fisheries sector
Gender equality relevant policy documents
Selected research on gender issues in the maritime and fisheries sector
Organisations and institutions
Table of contents
- 1Relevance of gender in the policy area
- 2Issues of gender inequalities in the policy area
- 3Gender equality policy objectives at eu and international level
- 4Policy Cycle
- 5Practical examples of gender mainstreaming in maritme affairs and fisheries
- 7Current policy priorities in the fisheries sector at EU level
- 8Want to know more?
- 9Related content