Analysing the roles of men and women in the Marshall Islands’ fisheries sector: Supporting opportunities to mainstream gender

Carolina Garcia-Imhof
Florence Edwards

A gender and fisheries analysis was conducted in the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) to address the information gap regarding gender in their coastal fisheries sector. It was observed that at the community-level, traditional beliefs inhibiting women’s active participation in certain fishing activities still exist, but over time Marshallese women are gradually partaking in fishing activities that were previously the domain of men. While men’s fishing activities are usually for food and income, women’s are mainly for household consumption. Across the coastal fisheries value chain, women are active in post-harvest
processing activities, including preparing seafood and making shell craft jewellery, with the latter being an important income earner for the women involved. Several fisheries livelihood initiatives have been undertaken to support outer island communities, although these unconsciously engage more men than women due to traditional gender-delineated roles around fishing. Both men and women partake in community aquaculture ventures and community-based fisheries management, but their levels of participation and influence remains ambiguous and needs further investigation. Within the formal fisheries sector, women are now occupying senior leadership positions and technical roles within state and non-state institutions, but no formal mechanism exists to align their operations and programmes with RMI’s gender equality commitments and policies. Enhancing collaboration between these institutions and the women’s division within government and women-focused civil society organisations, and women’s groups is needed to effectively mainstream gender across the RMI’s fisheries sector.

Research Type(s)
Newspaper – Newsletter
July 27, 2023
Published in

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