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Gender issues in aquaculture - main contributions from Cecile Brugere                         Page 1
Women play a crucial role in aquaculture production. For example in Cambodia, higher yields are obtained from fish ponds managed mainly by women. In Thailand and China, they often bear the sole responsibility of farm and aquaculture production because of male migration to cities. However, women's contribution to aquaculture is often unrecognised and the real benefits from their involvement in the activity are not objectively assessed. This is surprising given that small-scale aquaculture development is increasingly considered as a means by which the livelihoods of the poor, including women, could be improved.
Women checking cages, Bangladesh. Kenny McAndrew.
WHAT IS GENDER? Gender covers "the social roles of both men and women". Gender relations are "the relations of power and dominance that structure the life chances of women and men", which implies that gender is not fixed by biological divisions but by the social, cultural, religious systems of society (Mosse 1993). Gender and Development (GAD) studies often refer to the simultaneous achievement of two goals:
1) The efficiency goal: women's basic protection and welfare (education, shelter, food security), also called women's practical gender needs.
2) The empowerment goal: abolition of women's subordination to men, also called women's strategic gender needs.
Meeting practical and strategic gender needs, i.e. achieving the two gender goals in development, leads to the empowerment of women through improved access to, and control over, income, but also crucially over the decisions on how to dispose of this income, which is highly relevant to poverty alleviation. Decision-making and empowerment should be gradually extended from the household to the wider community.

Mosse, J.C. (1993) Half the World, Half a Chance. An Introduction to Gender and Development. Oxfam UK, Oxford.

Woman fixing her net cage, Thailand. Malene Felsing

Integrating gender concerns in aquaculture development means:
1) Aquaculture benefits women through an increase in income and improvement in nutrition (practical needs/efficiency goal);
2) With more control over aquaculture activities, women gain control over their own lives and improve their status both within the household and the community (strategic needs/empowerment).
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