Authors: Kathleen Ragsdale, Mary Read-Wahidi, Pamela Marinda, Lauren Pincus, Elin Torell, and Robert Kolbila
We implemented the novel Women’s Empowerment in Fisheries Index (WEFI) (adapted from the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index), among men and women fisheries value chain actors at Zambia’s Lake Bangweulu (N = 397). We found significant gender disparities favoring males across key indicators. Men were significantly more likely to report large decision-making input into fishing, processing, transporting, and selling fish, as well as sole ownership of important productive assets such as fishing and processing equipment, canoes, and mobile phones. Women were significantly more likely to report non-completion of any years of school and being “not at all comfortable” speaking in public on decisions affecting their fishing community, on decisions related to fishery governance, and to protest illegal/unsustainable fishing practices. Women were also significantly more likely to report that – in the past four weeks – there was no food to eat in their dwelling due to lack of resources to get food, they/another household member had gone to sleep at night hungry because there was not enough food, and they/another household member had gone a whole day and night without eating because there was not enough food. For the gender attitude questions, a sizeable proportion of both men and women disagreed that men should retain control of fishery assets, income, and decision-making. However, these opinions were not reflected in the current distribution of fishery assets, income, and decision-making autonomy. The results indicate that the WEFI is a useful quantitative instrument, as it is relatively brief while also allowing for gender-disaggregated analysis of demographic characteristics, household-level hunger, livelihoods participation, asset ownership, decision-making autonomy, and gender attitudes specific to small-scale capture fishery value chain actors. Replicating the WEFI among small-scale fisheries value chain actors in other sub-Saharan countries will provide important insights on gender equity commonalities and differences across sites/contexts.
Read the full publication at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.worlddev.2022.105821.
Published February 4, 2022