Women catch, process, and sell fish for local markets

The USAID Fish Right Program is a partnership between the Government of the Philippines and the U.S. Agency for International Development to improve marine biodiversity and the fisheries sector in three key ecological areas. The program is being implemented by the CRC in collaboration with a team of core implementing partners, which were selected for their complementary expertise. Fish Right strives to foster substantial change in fisheries management and climate resilience in the Philippines to achieve a ten-percent increase in fish biomass in Calamianes, Southern Negros, and Visayan Seas. Through improved management of fisheries, mangroves, and other coastal resources, the program will also increase resilience and improve livelihoods among households engaged in the fisheries within the 39 municipalities. Through its programs and activities, Fish Right aims to ensure that women and other marginalized groups benefit and participate as equals.

A Fish Right team of experts from URI and the Path Foundation Philippines has completed a qualitative gender analysis, which was implemented in 26 barangays (villages) in the Visayan Seas, South Negros, and the Calamianes Island Group. The gender analysis aimed to identify and understand gender norms, resource use patterns, and power relationships in fishing communities in the Philippines. A total of 769 individuals were reached through key informant interviews, focus group discussions, and participatory resource and time mapping exercises.

A unique aspect of the gender analysis was the detailed assessment men’s and women’s access and control of coastal and marine resources, which found that men control most high value species caught on coral reefs and in the deep-sea—many of which are perceived to be in poor condition. Nearshore and shallow ecosystems, which are perceived to be in better condition, are women’s domains. In general, men have a stronger voice in the fisheries space. However, as value chain actors and wives who are responsible for household finances, women have a significant stake in fisheries management. The gender analysis supports previous research by finding that the roles of women and men are deeply integrated, but unequal, especially in relation to workload, leadership, and decision-making. Strengthening gender roles and achieving broader ecosystem-based fisheries management will require working with both men and women to challenge social constructs, growing women’s confidence, and recognizing the “invisible” work of women in households and the fisheries sector.