Employment Opportunities for Women in Tuna Industry in Small Islands: Is it Really Restrictive? A Case Study of Fiji Islands

Vina Ram-Bidesi

Having close proximity to world’s most productive tuna fishing grounds and with limited formal employment choices, most Pacific Islands countries see the labour intensive nature of tuna fishing and processing as extremely important means to support their economic development. Whether this economic development is equitable and fair and benefits both men and women equally or whether it creates greater disparity has always been a concern. Many Pacific Island countries are a party to several international agreements and have formulated national policies to support the advancement of women and to eliminate gender discrimination. Have these addressed women’s concerns in the tuna industry or supported labour and fisheries policies to be more sensitive to their needs? Using Fiji as a case study, employment in the tuna industry is investigated with emphasis on identifying problems and prospects for women and where policy intervention might be most effective given that several studies have raised concerns about employment conditions and inequitable policies. The paper points out that there are other external factors that have a strong bearing on the productivity and profitability of the industry which in turn directly impact on employment opportunities that become available to women. Understanding these factors can provide a more balanced and realistic approach to address gender issues in the tuna industry. The study argues that gender policies for the tuna industry must be aligned within this broader context in order to effectively address women’s vulnerabilities, concerns and aspirations, otherwise they may be ineffective and may in turn disadvantage women further.

Research Type(s)
Journal Article
Submitted by Toksave
March 24, 2021
Published in
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