Role of Filipino women in fisheries community
History has attested to the active role that women in the Philippines have played in accelerating the material and spiritual progress of the people. There are significant differences in the status of women from country to country considering the rooted cultural framework. On the other hand, basic similarities unite women in the plight against differences wherever they exist-in the legal, economic, social political, and cultural status of women.
In the Philippines, women form a large part of the agricultural workforce; in the preparation, processing and marketing of agricultural commodities. Women constitute a substantial economic resource, yet their status in this sector is of disadvantaged situation. Generally, existing strategies for improving the situation of women tend to emphasize their role as wives, mothers, child rearing and home makers (cooking, gather fuel, fetch water, cleaning, family budget etc.). There are growing evidences which show women's broader roles and in which she plays a vital role in planning, implementing and evaluating. However, the general trend points to an increasing and substantial participation of Filipino women in labor force i.e., in fisheries, agriculture, community organizations etc. Today, women are largely involved in activities such as, fish-shrimp fry collection, fish marketing, mend fishing gears, pre-harvest, post harvest activities, fish production (fish ponds, fish cages, fish pens, hatchery), fish processing (smoking, canning), preservation, handling packing. Inspite of its involvement, there is still a critical factor on the situation of low income women and young girls in the Philippines. Poverty, unless seriously tackled, no significant change can take place. The problems of poverty would ultimately result in poor health, poor nutrition, low rate of education, limited income and low community participation.
In review of the basic roles and responsibilities of women in the fishing community, special efforts should be made to provide the needs of women workers and their families in the rural areas. The government should work closely with women organizations in order to devise effective mechanism for inter-sectoral, multi-disciplinary approach to mobilize grassroots women. Programmes such as on the job Training, child care facilities, non-formal education should be planned to improve the quality of living for the poor.