Over the last decade, we have made efforts to address the human dimension of natural resource management. When the human dimension is considered in fisheries and aquaculture, it is often in the context of ‘coastal communities’. However, communities are not homogenous – their members have different roles, status and entitlements. Baseline surveys of communities generally use the ‘household’ as the basic unit.
This can result in differences between the roles of women and men of various ages and their power relations being overlooked, even though inequality of household members, in terms of decision-making and income sharing, is often at the root of development and environmental issues. There was an earlier wave of effort to promote the role of ‘women in fisheries’ in the Pacific, especially in the 1980s.
Today there is renewed interest in the area of ‘gender and fisheries’. This focus on gender equity, equality and social inclusion comes from awareness of women’s critical role in fisheries and management of marine resources, and the importance of everyone benefiting equitably from technical and scientific interventions designed to achieve development outcomes. Integrating a gender and social inclusion (GSI) perspective in coastal resource management and development improves our capacity to achieve the goal of improving the well-being of all people living in coastal areas.