Women in fisheries should be ensured safety and financial security, says Kerala Governor

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Despite women forming about 50% of the workforce in the fisheries sector, specially in post-harvest operations and and marketing, they are denied access to capital and they lack entrepreneurial opportunities and chances to advance their income. Often women are not paid the wages they deserve, with them sometimes ending up as unpaid workers. But if it was not for them, families would have less access to fish, said Governor Arif Mohammed Khan in Kochi on Sunday. He was inaugurating the 8th Global Conference on Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries.

Fisheries is still considered a man’s world and women lack opportunities that are open to their counterparts. Women who are so involved in processing and marketing should be ensured personal safety, financial security, and availability of nutrition, said the Governor.

Women were given an honoured place in culture, but when it came to practice, they were neglected, he said. Mr. Khan expressed hope that the three-day conference would identify problems that demanded attention and address them.

The conference, the second triennial event to the conducted in Kochi, is being jointly organised by the Society of Fisheries Technologists (India) and ICAR-Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (CIFT).

Meryl J. Williams, co-chair, GAF8; Jennifer Gee, gender team leader, FAO, United Nations; and V. Kripa, member secretary, Coastal Aquaculture Authority were among the lead speakers at the inauguration of the conference.

The delegates spoke of the vulnerability of women, especially in the face of natural disasters caused by factors like climate change and surprise events like a pandemic. Women’s interests were ignored when it came to policy-making and the worlds of fisheries and aquaculture needed to do more to make women more visible, they said.

Around 300 delegates will participate in the event, which is being held in the hybrid mode with about 25 scientists and researchers making their presentations online.

Dr. Kripa said the fisheries sector in the country was in for changes with substantial funds being allotted under a national-level programme for infrastructure development and improvement of other facilities in the sector. CIFT Director George Nainan welcomed the gathering.

Veteran fisheries scientist T.K. Srinivasa Gopal was presented with SOFTI Biennial Award 2017 by the Governor.

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