Testing a model to assess women’s inclusion and participation in community-based resource management in Solomon Islands


Community-based fisheries management (CBFM) is a standard management framework in Melanesia. Yet, there is increasing evidence that women, among other marginalised groups, experience barriers to inclusion in decision-making processes. Through a case study in three communities in Marovo Lagoon, Solomon Islands, we adapted Agarwal’s 2001 participation typology for a Melanesian CBFM context to present a participation model for assessing gender inclusivity in CBFM. We defined six levels of women’s participation, including, (1) no participation, (2) nominal, (3) passive, (4) consultive, (5) active, and (6) interactive (empowering) participation, defined as actively participating in all aspects of the decision-making process, and holding leadership roles that increase women’s influence and power across the community. The model should be broadly useful throughout Melanesia across many different cultural contexts, though we anticipate that aspects will need adaptation in different contexts, both within and beyond Solomon Islands. We found that the three study communities respectively fell within the passive, consultive, and active levels. Our results show that gender parity, that is equal representation of women and men, is not a reliable indicator of gender equity. The utility of the model lies in its implementation, which requires engagement with gender power structures. This work contributes to the gender, small-scale fisheries, and community-based management literature by assessing women’s participation in CBFM decision-making processes through use of a participation model, and providing recommendations to fisheries practitioners on implementation of the model to assess gender equity in a community’s CBFM structures

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Research Type(s)
Journal Article
Submitted by Sheridan Rabbitt
June 14, 2023
Published in

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