Women’s Participation Appraisal through Commodity Chains: The Case of Mexican Fisheries


"Women’s contribution in fisheries is often overlooked, underestimated, undervalued and unpaid (Harper, et al., 2017), even though they represent 47% of the global fisheries workforce (World Bank, 2012), with pre and post harvesting activities being the most common working areas of contribution. Studies show that overlooking women’s fishing practices can lead to data gaps, inaccurate assumptions about gender division of labor in fisheries, as well as underestimates of the total human pressure on the ecosystem (Kleiber, et al., 2014). To examine women's participation throughout the commodity chain, COBI tested a participatory methodology to in three highly-valued Mexican fisheries: penshell (Atrina maura) from the Gulf of California, red lobster (Panulirus interruptus) from the northern Pacific, and spiny lobster (Panulirus argus) from the Mesoamerican Reef. Participation of men and women in the application of the methodology was similar: 53% man and 47% women. Results show an uneven participation of man and women in fishing cooperatives and very low for women (on average 10.1%). These percentages increased dramatically when looking at indirect jobs: 48.5% were women in the penshell fishery, 21.9% in the red lobster fishery and 34% in the spiny lobster fishery. The analysis of the commodity chain provided a more realistic picture of the contribution of women to fisheries than the analysis focused on harvest (extraction) per se. This work is further analyzing the importance and degree of participation of women itself (in fishing cooperatives and decision-making processes) for further reflection to find strategies to reduce gender disparity and encourage women inclusion in decision-making processes."



gender, equality, governance