Women in Aquaculture

08 October 2020

Every year on March 8th, we celebrate International Women’s Day. On this day we pause to recognize the contribution women make in our lives socially, economically, culturally and politically. This includes the contribution women make in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors. The FAO estimates “overall, women accounted for more than 19 percent of all people directly engaged in the fisheries and aquaculture primary sector in 2014 (and) globally, when primary and secondary fisheries sector engagements are combined, women make up half of the workforce”[1]

Promoting gender equality and empowerment in aquaculture for women

International Women’s Day also raises awareness of the global issue of gender equality for women in society and the workforce. Gender equality is specifically addressed within the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as one of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). “Over the next fifteen years, with these new Goals that universally apply to all, countries will mobilize efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind.”[2]  Launched on 1 January 2016, SDG 5 is Gender Equality - Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
Achieving gender equality and empowerment of women in aquaculture can occur at all levels from feeding, harvesting and processing to managing corporations. At the individual level, aquaculture can empower as a source of food and additional income for women and their families through subsistence or small-scale aquaculture. At this level, where there are challenges, there are a number of organizations involved in raising awareness of issues encountered by women in aquaculture and empowering women to overcome these challenges. For example, a USAID/Worldfish project called “Aquaculture for Income and Nutrition” (AIN) in Bangladesh enabled women to overcome social challenges which forbid them from entering the water through the use of gillnets: 

Gill nets boost women's involvement in aquaculture in Bangladesh

At the corporate level, an example of empowerment of women in aquaculture is Madam Truong Thi Le Khanh, founder of the Vietnamese Vinh Hoan company in 1997. Growing from a private Pangasius farming enterprise, today Vinh Hoan is a vertically integrated corporation. Vinh Hoan is GLOBALG.A.P. certified and the leading producer and processor of Pangasius in Vietnam and is still led by Madam Khanh as Chairwoman and Ms. Nguyen Ngo Vi Tam as CEO.

Gender equality in aquaculture is a continuous journey and a priority for GLOBALG.A.P.

GLOBALG.A.P. contributes to the promotion of gender equity and the empowerment of women through the GLOBALG.A.P. social GRASP[3] standard, which addresses discrimination against women at the farm and the processing plant level for chain-of-custody facilities. Thus, when you see the GGN label, you have the assurance that the product was raised and processed with responsible practices which promote gender equity and empower women.
[1] http://www.fao.org/3/a-i6623e.pdf p.1
[2] http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/development-agenda/
[3] GlobalG.A.P. Risk Assessment on Social Practice (GRASP)


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