January 19, 2019

GAF7 Transforming Gender Relations in Caribbean to Support SDGs


18 October | Bangkok: Research into the participation and role of women in Caribbean small-scale fisheries, along with careful efforts to transform gender relations is crucial to the uptake of the UN/FAO Small-Scale Fisheries Guidelines and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

This message will be the focus of two presentations at ‘Expanding the Horizons’, the 7th Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries conference in Bangkok on 18–22 October.

Processing flying fish, Barbados. Photo: Maria Pena, GAF7 Presentation GA_05

In How has organization benefited women in the Barbados flyingfish fishery? A look from within, Maria Pena will present research into women’s participation and role in the only post-harvest fisherfolk organization in Barbados – the Central Fish Processors Association (CFPA). Co-authors of the presentation include Patrick McConney, Bertha Simmons and Neetha Selliah.

Miss Pena, Project Officer, CERMES, the University of the West Indies (UWI): “There is limited literature in general on women in fisherfolk organizations in Barbados, where flyingfish comprise half of the annual total landings. Women are conspicuous in the postharvest sector of the flyingfish value chain, but their participation in fisherfolk organizations is unclear.”

“Our research is the first to document women’s engagement in collective action in the flyingfish fishery in Barbados. Such research contributes to the implementation of the 2014 SSF Guidelines, particularly in relation to gender equality, and responsible fisheries and sustainable development.

“Lessons learned and actions implemented may have a role in increasing women’s participation and leadership in collective action in local fisheries in Barbados and elsewhere in the Caribbean. It’s also hoped that the research will result in increased local attention (and maybe even regional and global) on fisherfolk organizations,” she said.

In Gender-transformative approaches to development in coastal and fishing communities in the English-speaking Caribbean, Patrick McConney, Senior Lecturer, Marine Resource Management Planning at UWI, will present the findings of a 2017 scoping study and 2018 survey. Co-authors include Leisa Perch, a gender and environmental consultant, and Maria Pena.

“Our research explored how gender and fisheries actors should engage with efforts at the country, sub-regional and regional level to achieve SDGs 5 and 14, but individually and collectively, and ensure that achieving one is not done at the expense of the other.

“The findings show that better coherence—through a transdisciplinary approach and integrative policies—are need to achieve a sustainable transformation of small-scale fisheries and ensure viable fisheries in the future.

“The transdisciplinary approach of combining natural and social science analysis offers valuable learning of global interest and informs a practical way forward for the Caribbean region. Though there is work to be done in advancing a transdisciplinary approach, the foundations exist in fisheries, gender and other social policies. A key first step is bringing them together and also identifying the gaps that need to be filled,” she said.

The presentations will take place at the Asian Institute of Technology Conference Center on 18 October at 15:30-17:00 in hall 2 and 19 October at 15:30-1730 in hall 2, respectively. All media are welcome to attend.

Media contact: Kate Bevitt, katebevitt+oak@gmail.com