Women and Gender in SSFs Policy Action Toolkit

Women's contributions to small-scale fisheries and aquaculture are frequently overlooked and under-recognized. 45 million women participate in small-scale fisheries operations globally, which constitutes greater than 40% of the fisheries workforce. Women are involved in all aspects of the fisheries sector and stand to benefit disproportionately from fisheries, as the contribution of aquatic foods to vulnerable communities’ food security and nutrient intakes are particularly important for women's health and child development.


Women & Gender

Policy Action Toolkit

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Fisher Declarations

The below declarations were made by and in consultation with small-scale fishers, fish workers, and small-scale fisher allies.

INCLUDE women who are involved in fisheries and aquaculture operations in decision making, both at local, regional, and national levels, and support their leadership in co-management schemes and/or fishing cooperatives.

APPRECIATE and respect the knowledge and values of women in small-scale fisheries.

PROTECT all women involved in small-scale fisheries from abuses, violence, and harassment, while underscoring that women’s rights are human rights.

PROVIDE women with preferential access, where necessary, to fishing grounds with secure tenure, and protect their rights from encroachment by industrial development or other means.

ENSURE that women have access to services in the fishing sector, such as savings, credit, insurance, and education opportunities.

SUPPORT gender mainstreaming, or assessing the implications of policies, programs, planned action, and legislation, on women and men in all areas and at all levels.

INVEST in and build the capacity of institutions and relevant stakeholders on gender equity, human rights, and social inclusion.

STRENGTHEN woman-led cooperatives and encourage the creation of women’s community groups as a way to enhance community resilience, create networks for sharing experiences, and provide opportunities for political engagement. 


Hear more fisher voices on the SSF Hub's YouTube Channel



Topics Resources
Assessing roles and needs of women in SSFs

Gender Equity and Social Inclusion (GESI) Analysis for Coastal Fisheries 

A methodological approach for mapping women's SSF organizations to assess their capacities and needs

Improving gender inclusion in decision-making and sustainable fisheries management

Assessing inclusion in community-based natural resource management: A framework and methodology (CGIAR)

Pacific handbook for gender equity and social inclusion in coastal fisheries and aquaculture

Economic Empowerment Women's economic empowerment in fisheries
Technological empowerment (digital literacy, access to technology / innovation) Equitable Tools Can Boost Small-Scale Fisher Livelihoods (WorldFish Blog)
Leadership training, gender-equitable governance, and women's rights as human rights Towards gender-equitable small-scale fisheries governance and development
Gender maintstreaming Mainstreaming gender in fisheries and aquaculture
Eliminate gender-based violence and protect women from abuses and harassment CARE Gender-Based Violence Mitigation Strategies


Case Study – WWF Chile

The fisherwomen of Coliumo, Chile have long since fought for their inclusion in the natural-resource management decisions of their coastal territories. In response to the illegitimate encroachment by divers using advanced fishing techniques on their seaweed production areas, women seaweed gatherers and fisherwomen decided to take formal action to protect their rights to the coastal resources. The women in this region formally organized themselves and requested official rights to manage their marine resources and safeguard them from degradation. Since 2002, they have officially managed algae extraction in three management areas, built a seaweed farm, and applied new technologies to improve their businesses. Women can now own their own boats and manage their own fishing quota, which was previously impossible. Inspired by their success, other women's organizations were established at a regional and national level. The region currently has the largest number of women-led organizations.

Sara Garrido standing in front of water with colorful boats

Most recently, this women’s leadership organization proposed a bill for gender equality to make the role of women in artisanal fishing visible and include more women in decision-making processes. This bill, which was recently approved, is an important step in changing public policy to incorporate the needs of women in small-scale and artisanal fisheries. It also signifies the need for a holistic approach taken by all government institutions to provide equal opportunities for women.



The content of the Women & Gender in Small-Scale Fisheries Policy Action Toolkit was contributed by: Association of Southern Woman Fishers, Blue Ventures, COAST Trust, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), Fishing Industry Association of Papua New Guinea, International Pole and Line Foundation (IPNLF), Guiuan Development Foundation Inc. (GDFI), National Fisheries Solidarity Organization (NAFSO), Sustainable Development Foundation of Thailand (SDF), Poonthalir Women Organization of Jaffna District, Union Jono Shangaton Committee, and World Wildlife Fund (WWF).



This Policy Action Toolkit is produced by the Small-Scale Fisheries Resource & Collaboration Hub (SSF Hub) and its partner organizations. The SSF Hub encourages the use, reproduction and dissemination of material in this toolkit. Except where otherwise indicated, material may be copied, downloaded and printed for private study, research and teaching purposes, or for use in non-commercial products or services, provided that appropriate acknowledgement of the SSF Hub and its partners as the source.





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