Women’s economic empowerment in fisheries in the blue economy of the Indian Ocean Rim: A baseline report

Women constitute nearly half of those employed in fisheries globally and are actively engaged in the industry in countries in the Indian Ocean Rim. Women fishers contribute significantly to household income and food security, and their economic contributions are often the mainstay of family and community sustenance. Fisheries, however, remains a traditionally male-dominated sector where women’s contributions are greatly devalued. Furthermore, women’s work in fisheries and aquaculture often lacks formal recognition, and women are vastly underrepresented in policy and decision-making.

This report by UN Women, in partnership with the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF), examines the roles of women in fisheries and aquaculture in the Indian Ocean Rim region and the challenges and opportunities for their economic empowerment. The report focuses on the 22 Member States of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) and includes both marine and inland fisheries and aquaculture sectors.

In addition to establishing a baseline for the region, the report provides a set of recommendations for policymakers, the private sector, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders, to address gender equality issues in the following areas, among others:

  • employment and regulation;
  • occupational segregation and gender wage gaps;
  • social security;
  • unpaid care work;
  • climate change; and
  • women’s organizations, collectives, and leadership.

The report also includes country profiles for each IORA Member State that collate a wide range of information on fisheries and aquaculture, with a focus on women’s engagement in the sector.

Additional documents