This viewpoint emphasizes gendered perspectives and reflects on gender roles for sustainability-focused governance. It argues that when considering gender in this context, not only equity, or power-plays between genders are at stake; in addition, for effective ocean governance, an irreducible contribution of female voices is necessary. Some key contributions of women in the field of ocean governance-related research are described as examples. If women, for instance, are not included in fisheries management, we miss the complete picture of social-ecological linkages of marine ecosystems. Overall, women are often regarded as major actors driving sustainable development because of their inclusiveness and collaborative roles. Similarly, women have advocated for the common good in marine conservation, raising important (and often neglected) concerns. In maritime industries, women enlarge the talent pool for innovation and smart growth. Besides the manifold possibilities for promoting the involvement of women in ocean governance and policy-making, this viewpoint highlights how gendered biases still influence our interactions with the ocean. It is necessary to reduce the structural, and systemically-embedded hurdles that continue to lead to gendered decision-taking with regard to the ocean.
Women and Gender Equality (SDG 5)
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is an authoritative and influential source of reports on climate change. The lead authors of IPCC reports include scientists from around the world, but questions have been raised about the dominance of specific disciplines in the report and the disproportionate number of scholars from the Global North. In this paper, we analyze the as-yet-unexamined issue of gender and IPCC authorship, looking at changes in gender balance over time and analyzing women’s views about their experience and barriers to full participation, not only as women but also at the intersection of nationality, race, command of English, and discipline. Over time, we show that the proportion of female IPCC authors has seen a modest increase from less than 5% in 1990 to more than 20% in the most recent assessment reports. Based on responses from over 100 women IPCC authors, we find that many women report a positive experience in the way in which they are treated and in their ability to influence the report, although others report that some women were poorly represented and heard. We suggest that an intersectional lens is important: not all women experience the same obstacles: they face multiple and diverse barriers associated with social identifiers such as race, nationality, command of English, and disciplinary affiliation. The scientific community benefits from including all scientists, including women and those from the Global South. This paper documents barriers to participation and identifies opportunities to diversify climate science.
Gender inequity in science and academia, especially in senior positions, is a recognised problem. The reasons are poorly understood, but include the persistence of historical gender ratios, discrimination and other factors, including gender-based behavioural differences. We studied participation in a professional context by observing question-asking behaviour at a large international conference with a clear equality code of conduct that prohibited any form of discrimination. Accounting for audience gender ratio, male attendees asked 1.8 questions for each question asked by a female attendee. Amongst only younger researchers, male attendees also asked 1.8 questions per female question, suggesting the pattern cannot be attributed to the temporary problem of demographic inertia. We link our findings to the ‘chilly’ climate for women in STEM, including wider experiences of discrimination likely encountered by women throughout their education and careers. We call for a broader and coordinated approach to understanding and addressing the barriers to women and other under-represented groups. We encourage the scientific community to recognise the context in which these gender differences occur, and evaluate and develop methods to support full participation from all attendees.
Although highly recognized as needed, studies linking gender and coastal/marine management are scarce. This research illustrates the importance of gender analysis in natural resource management by linking gender and coastal management i.e. Marine Spatial Planning. The research was conducted in various Zanzibar seascapes (Unguja Island, Tanzania). Using a typology comprising gender structure, symbolism and identity; the results show a clear gendered division of labor, highly associated with a gender symbolism in which traditional roles of women as responsible for reproduction activities played a major role. Men used the whole seascape for their activities, while women remained in coastal forests and shallow areas collecting wood, invertebrates and farming seaweed. These activities allowed women to combine productive and reproductive work. Ecosystem importance for subsistence decreased with distance from land for both genders, while the importance for income increased with distance for men. Both genders acknowledged seagrasses as very important for income. Income closely followed the universal pattern of men earning more. Identities were defined by traditional ideas like “women are housewives”, while men identities were strongly associated with fisheries with reinforced masculinity. Livelihood diversity was higher for women also showing a tendency of slow change into other roles. Management was found to be strongly androcentric, revealing a deep gender inequality. The research exemplifies how a gender analysis can be conducted for management enhancement. It also invites replication around the world. If management is found to be androcentric in coastal locations elsewhere, a serious gender inequality can be at hand at global level.
Drawing on ethnographic case studies from Madagascar, this research shows that multiple marine conservation projects have institutionalized inequitable access to marine recourses along gendered lines. Despite discursive and institutional shifts toward more “collaborative” and “community-based” conservation programing, there is a deficiency of women’s nominal as well as effective participation in community management organizations. This research shows that conservation organizations’ focus on proximate drivers of marine resource use, or a politics of picking the “low-hanging fruit,” over ultimate drivers such as global commodity chains, places disproportionate emphasis on marine spatial enclosures and restricting specific, and gendered, harvest methods. To address gender bias concerning access to and control over natural resources, we must go beyond the rhetoric of “community involvement” to address gendered inequalities in conservation decision making, and whose interests are served by conservation projects.
The contribution by women to fisheries economies globally continues to be overlooked, in part, because “fishing” is often narrowly defined as catching fish at sea, from a vessel, using specialized gears. Both men and women are involved in fisheries, but often in different roles and activities. Fisheries research, management, and policy have traditionally focused on direct, formal, and paid fishing activities—that are often dominated by men, ignoring those that are indirect, informal, and/or unpaid—where women are concentrated. This has led to a situation where men's and women's contributions to fisheries are not equally valued or even recognized and has resulted in women being largely excluded from fisheries decision-making processes. Here, we examine the contributions by women in the fisheries sector of five globally significant marine fishing countries—Mexico, Peru, Senegal, South Africa, and Vietnam. These countries each have strong links between livelihoods and marine capture fisheries, yet represent different geographic, socioeconomic, and governance contexts. Through a synthesis of existing data, case studies, and consultation with local experts, we found that the contribution by women to the fisheries of these five countries is substantial. However, this investigation also revealed major gaps in understanding of gender inequalities in the fisheries sector and the need for better gender-disaggregated data to inform fisheries policy.
National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plans (NBSAPs) are key instruments for defining priorities and modalities for effective, ef cient and equitable biodiversity management at the national level and across key sectors. As such, they provide important opportunities to recognize and integrate women’s empowerment and gender equality considerations.
Out of the 254 total NBSAP reports from 174 countries (presented from 1993 to 2016), 143 reports (56% of total documents) from 107 countries (61% of total countries examined) contain at least one gender and/or women keyword.
With respect to how women and women’s participation are characterized in NBSAPs, the most countries (37% of the 174 Parties included in this analysis) indicate inclusion of women as stakeholders; 27% include reference to women as beneficiaries; 17% refer to women as vulnerable; and the fewest, 4% (seven countries) characterize women as agents of change.
Gender considerations are integrated in various ways and across multiple sections of NBSAPs. For example, 14% of countries include women’s empowerment and/or gender equality as a guiding principle. Approximately one-quarter (24%) of most recent NBSAPs include at least one specific activity geared towards women or otherwise proactively including gender considerations, e.g., to address gender gaps.
Echoing common themes across decades of CBD decisions, 26 countries (15%) reference women as keepers of traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) in relation to their roles as farmers, fishers, and elders of indigenous communities in at least one of their NBSAPs, while 41 countries (24%) reference women as stewards of the environment in at least one NBSAP.
Institutions matter within natural resource management. While there are many examples of analyses of the nature and influence of institutions within fisheries, there are fewer examples of how institutions inform the practice and outcomes of co-management. This article reports on analysis of institutions and fisheries co-management in East African and Malawi inland fisheries informed by Critical Institutionalism. It concludes that relations between fisheries departments and local co-management structures, and between local government/traditional authorities and local co-management structures, and social, power, and gender relations within and beyond fisheries communities, particularly impact on the practice and outcomes of co-management.