Good practice policies to eliminate gender inequalities in fish value chains
Despite the significant presence of women in the fisheries sector, most developing country fisheries data collection systems fail to capture the actual contributions of small-scale fisheries and aquaculture to employment, production and consumption. These data gaps reinforce the policy neglect of gender issues in fisheries and aquaculture. This leads to biased policies – such as focusing on capture/ production (where men are concentrated) rather than post-harvest processing and marketing (dominated by women) – resulting in the underperformance of the fisheries sector. The purpose of this paper is to highlight some key gender inequalities in fisheries and aquaculture value chains that lead to marked underperformance by women, and to propose some good practice policies that can lead to sustainable increases in production, processing and marketing of high-quality fish; increases in women’s incomes and those of their families; and a reduction in malnutrition among the poor. It also outlines examples of successful gender-equitable implementation modalities, including modalities for enforcing labor laws, safety laws and regulations, and quality and hygiene standards. The main audience is government policy-makers and officials, researchers, and their various development partners involved in the fisheries sector, with a focus on stakeholder organizations operating in the formal or informal fisheries and aquaculture sector.