Small-scale fisheries cannot be understood without considering gender, and this requires confronting the continued absence of women in the already limited data available on small-scale fisheries (Kleiber, Harris and Vincent, 2015; Harper et al., 2017). The first attempt to gauge the scale of women’s engagement in small-scale fisheries globally was done in the 2012 Hidden Harvest study (World Bank, 2012). The findings in this study underscored the need for commitments to gender equity and equality, which have been further articulated in international policy guidance, specifically the SSF Guidelines and the SDGs (FAO, 2015). However, it has proven elusive to translate these into action, in particular the commitment to closing the gender data gap.
This chapter seeks to address the challenge sexist data present and outline the opportunities associated with gender-inclusive small-scale fisheries structures. It does so by assessing gender-related gaps and barriers that persist in the collection and analysis of small-scale fisheries data, with examples that highlight pathways towards gender inclusivity and equality, as critical information for the implementation of the SSF Guidelines and for fully understanding the contributions of small-scale fisheries to the SDGs.
This chapter can be found in the report: ‘Illuminating Hidden Harvests: The contributions of small-scale fisheries to sustainable development’. Illuminating Hidden Harvests (IHH) is a global initiative of FAO, Duke University, and WorldFish to generate and disseminate new evidence about the benefits, interactions and impacts of small-scale fisheries to inform policy and practice.
A key output of the IHH initiative is a major report, which provides a snapshot of the diverse contributions of small-scale fisheries globally. The report—which draws on diverse data sources, 58 country case studies, and 104 government questionnaires—represents a novel, multidisciplinary approach to assess and understand small-scale fisheries.