A new study co-led by Sangeeta Mangubhai, Director of WCS’s Fiji Program, examines an emerging issue in fisheries management: gender inclusion and equality. Interviewing fisheries managers and practitioners working in Fiji, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu, Mangubhai says that despite good intentions to make small-scale fisheries more equitable, the approaches currently used are unlikely to ensure gender inclusion, or address gender inequalities. Fisheries managers and practitioners need to diversify their approaches to address the underlying norms, relations, structures that shape the marginalization of women. This means arming fisheries managers and practitioners with tools that go beyond simply reaching women, to empowering women, and transforming gender norms and relationships that reinforce inequalities, in locally and culturally acceptable ways. Mangubhai and co-author Sarah Lawless of James Cook University, say there is an opportunity to work closely with gender and development organizations (particularly in the Pacific) with decades of knowledge and experience to help transfer the capacity into the fisheries sector. For fisheries to be sustainably managed, coastal fishing communities need to be including in fisheries planning, management and development. By ensuring women are included, fisheries are more likely to be sustainable, and the benefits more fairly distributed.
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