How can the Blue Economy accelerate Opportunity for Gender quality
Women are excessively affected by any type of change, be it environmental, economic and social. Climate change has exacerbated the plight of women in securing livelihoods for their families be it through farming, fishing and other primary means which are now hugely impacted by climate change, and underscored by the negative impact of COVID19.
As calls grow to address the gender inequality in economic recovery intervention, the blue economy needs a particular focus on issues on intersection between gender, race and age. Although women are active players in the ocean economy through activities such as fishing; they still are not represented in decision making structures which means that the knowledge and experience they possess is at the risk of remaining marginal. Further studies show that women and girls are still not represented in careers in the ocean economy, and that there is a disparity of work and pay by gender, with women having a significant presence in processing but not in fisheries management, or ocean decision-making bodies.
UNCTAD’s work shows there is untapped potential for women in the blue economy if we improve gender equality in the tourism and fisheries sectors alone.
Just imagine how much more we could do by diversifying in new areas like sustainable aquaculture, renewable energy, blue carbon, and marine bio-prospection. Innovation and technology are needed to support ocean and coastal restoration and protection, which are often community-led.
So imagine if we integrate women throughout all of these areas.
A change in mindset is needed, just as changes in policies are needed.
Growing a sustainable and resilient blue economy by fully including women’s potential, will benefit society and the economy, and in turn, advance all 17 SDGs.