Promoting sustainable and inclusive oceans management in Pacific islands through women and science
The question of how to efficiently and effectively manage ocean resources in a sustainable way has reached the forefront of discussion at an international level, but women's contributions to this process have been underestimated or unrecognized. Inclusive management plays a major role in the effective creation, use and adoption of environmental governance, necessitating efforts to measure, monitor and advance inclusivity. In many Pacific island states, there is a lack of disaggregated data collection and management to assist reliable and liable gender-responsive decision-making by national and regional authorities. This lack of information leads to unquantified female contributions and unexplored potential for women to actively contribute to sustainable ocean management as traditional leaders, researchers or science-based managers and in accordance with traditional customs, cultures and processes. This paper examines the contribution of gender-disaggregated data in both (1) effective management of natural resources and (2) measurement and monitoring of the active involvement of women in ocean management. We seek to shift the question from simply “(How) are oceans used by women?” to “How can we build a clear path towards inclusive oceans management using science?”, drawing data mainly from gender and ocean management practices in Pacific Small Island Developing States. This work also seeks to ground in reality the increasing national and international evocations about social equity and avoidance of gender discrimination. Given the existing relationships of Pacific peoples with the ocean and the emerging status of ocean science-based governance, wider integration of science and women in marine management can make an interesting and positive impact in this region.