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On International Women’s Day, recognizing women’s role in fisheries

The Blue Growth Blog, run by the Fisheries and Aquaculture Department at FAO, reflects on recent activities related to women and their role in the sector.


8 March marks International Women’s Day (#IWD2016) around the globe. It is a day to celebrate the important role women play in their families, their communities, the workforce and society as a whole.

This day is also an ideal time to reflect on the role of women in fisheries and aquaculture, and we’re including below some of FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture's recent activities related to women and their role in the sector. 

The frequently ‘invisible’ role of women in the seafood industry

An interesting FAO GLOBEFISH study, GLOBEFISH report: The role of women in the seafood industry was released last May.

Women are essential contributors to the seafood industry, including primary activities, secondary industries and service related to fisheries and aquaculture. At the global scale, estimates illustrate that every one seafood worker out of two is a woman.

While men continue to dominate capture fisheries – particularly offshore and industrial fishing— women across all regions are often relegated to processing, local sale and support roles, including cleaning boats and bringing fish to market.

These jobs are typically lower paid – in some cases unpaid – and less recognized for their contribution to the economy, employment and food security. Too often, the unofficial status of this work does not afford the women performing it to access the credit and financial resources that could make her work more efficient.

But the study points out that it is not only an issue limited to small-scale fisheries in developing countries.

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