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Global review throws light on gender-based violence in fisheries

Global review throws light on gender-based violence in fisheries
Definitions of the five types of gender-based violence relevant to capture fisheries—physical, sexual, psychological, economic (UN Women, 2020) and cultural (Galtung, 1990). Credit: Fish and Fisheries (2023). DOI: 10.1111/faf.12747

A new study published today in Fish and Fisheries argues that gender-based violence (GBV) cannot be separated from other actions taken to achieve equitable social outcomes through fisheries management.

UN Women defines gender-based violence as any act of violence against a person or group of individuals based on their gender, and includes physical, sexual, emotional, verbal, psychological threats, harassment, coercion, or any other deprivations of liberty.

Globally, there has been increased attention on understanding and integrating gender dimensions in fisheries. However, the intersection between fisheries and gender-based violence has received much less attention.

To better understand the issue, four gender and fisheries experts conducted a global review of capture fisheries and identified five types of gender-based violence ‒ these were physical, sexual, psychological, economic and cultural violence.

Dr. Sangeeta Mangubhai, an Industry Fellow at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) Fijian Consultant with Talanoa Consulting and Pew marine fellow said the term 'gender-based' is used when violence is shaped by and expectations, power and status in society.

"There is a general misconception that gender-based violence is not relevant to fisheries or a topic that practitioners have a responsibility to address. Our paper shows there are a variety of activities associated with these forms of violence in the fisheries sector, such as labor and , unsafe working and living conditions for children, women and men, and the cultural acceptance of various forms of discrimination," said Dr. Mangubhai.

The authors argue that GBV cannot be separated from other actions taken to achieve equitable social outcomes through , and therefore it is incumbent on fisheries practitioners and policy makers to address this in their sector.

UTS Professor Kate Barclay, co-author of the study, said, "If those working in fisheries are not aware of how gender-based violence can occur in their sector, they can unintentionally reinforce or perpetuate different forms of violence through policies and practices."

Key recommendations to address gender-based violence

Rather than just focus on the problem and leave fisheries practitioners and overwhelmed or unclear on what to do about it, the authors provide seven recommendations to help work towards addressing gender-based violence in capture fisheries.

These recommendations are:

  • Remove gender blindness and bias by investing in gender-sensitisation of the sector;
  • Form strategic partnerships with organizations with expertise in gender-based violence;
  • Improve policy and coordination between especially in the areas of prevention and protection;
  • Increase investments in labor rights and laws to protect those working in capture fisheries throughout the value chains;
  • Gender integrative program design and implementation;
  • Invest in specific programs for the empowerment of women; and
  • Invest in specific programs for men seeking healthy models of masculinity.

The study finds that gender-based violence is not a stand-alone topic and should be dealt with in conjunction with other pressing issues such resource depletion, climate change, poverty, and unemployment. Holistic and interconnected fisheries interventions and management is critical to socially equitable, sustainable fisheries and is an opportunity for the sector to contribute to the sustainable development goals.

How was the study conducted?

The research was conducted through a collaboration with the UTS Climate, Society and Environment Research Centre (C-SERC). C-SERC researchers investigate the social, political and economic aspects of challenges facing the natural world that are transforming the way we live. In starting a conversation among practitioners and researchers about gender-based violence in fisheries, this paper aligns with C-SERC and UTS' agenda of pursuing social justice in research.

The research is supported by the Pacific Community (SPC) through the Pacific-European Union Marine Partnership (PEUMP) program. Investigating nuanced forms of gender-based in fisheries to better understand linkages to the sector at small and large scale, including informal and formal contexts, PEUMP is committed to shed light on this blurred and often ignored issue with future research investment planned on GBV in in selected countries in the Pacific region.

More information: Sangeeta Mangubhai et al, Gender‐based violence: Relevance for fisheries practitioners, Fish and Fisheries (2023). DOI: 10.1111/faf.12747

Journal information: Fish and Fisheries

Citation: Global review throws light on gender-based violence in fisheries (2023, March 27) retrieved 1 June 2023 from
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