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Gender integration is essential for the successful growth of the aquaculture and fisheries sectors, and female empowerment is a core development objective of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). With a long-standing commitment to creating meaningful opportunities for both men and women in the aquaculture and fisheries sector of the developing world, the AquaFish Innovation Lab works to align its program-wide gender integration strategy with the current paradigms and initiatives in the development arena. Women and men need equitable access to assets and opportunities such as water resources, financial capital, knowledge of new production systems and skills, markets outside of regional gender boundaries, and participation in stakeholder groups and meetings.
Women are involved in every aspect of AquaFish work, from administration to research and education, as the program more broadly seeks to advance the development of responsible aquaculture technologies and systems through investment in research and capacity building. Since inception, disaggregated gender data derived from projects has informed continuing research, resulting in steady improvements in women’s participation. Benchmarks are set and data are actively collected to track the involvement of men and women in leadership, training, and long-term degree programs. To achieve the highest potential value of aquaculture development, equal contributions of men and women are necessary. AquaFish continuously fosters this goal by laying the groundwork, year after year, for participation and leadership development for women.
AquaFish's Gender Integration Plans [Volume I (2013) and Volume II (2017)] describe the Program's efforts to create equal and meaningful opportunities for women and men to participate in the Program’s research, training, educational, and other activities. Toward these goals, AquaFish:
Collects and analyzes disaggregated data from individual projects to gauge gender inclusiveness success
Promotes the participation of women in formal and informal education and training opportunities provided through AquaFish support by setting a 50% benchmark for training women
Requires all projects to have a strategy for integrating and addressing gender, and to have a gender focused investigation
Tailors specific extension and technical services related to sustainable aquaculture and aquatic resource management to women producers
Women workshop participants examine plankton samples at an AquaFish-sponsored workshop in Tanzania.
16th Biennial International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade Conference. (2012). Proceedings of the Special Session on Markets and Value Chains for Small Scale Aquaculture and Fisheries Enterprises with a Focus on Gender. Co-Chairs: Merly Williams and Hillary Egna. Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. July, 2012.
Egna, H., Reifke, L., Gitonga, N. (2012). Improving Gender Equity in Aquaculture Education and Training: 30 Years of Experiences in the Pond Dynamics/Aquaculture, Aquaculture, and AquaFish Collaborative Research Support Programs. Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries: Moving the Agenda Forward, Asian Fisheries Science Special Issue. Vol.25S. Pp119-128.
Egna, H., Gitonga, N., Reifke, L. (2011). Challenges of Including Gender Dimensions in Biotechnological Reseach. AquaFish CRSP PowerPoint presentation.Third Global Symposium on Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries (GAF3), 9th Asian Fisheries and Aquaculture Forum, April 2011.