International Women’s Day 2018 (and their undervalued role in our industry) / by Francisco Blaha

I been vocal in the past the unique role and perspectives that Women bring to fisheries, and about my personal experiences working for a woman captain in a factory vessel, to the many managers (like today's PSM project). A while ago I posted about a questionnaire on the issue, by the Woman In Seafood group, the report is out and make for sobering reading.

At a global scale woman represent 50% of all seafood workers including 90% of all seafood-processing workers. Yet only 9% of woman are in managerial roles and over the past 12 months across the 20 conferences analysed out of a total of 820 speakers, only 20% were women…

And is not that you have to give them a space or job because they are woman, but rather because they are good what the do, and as I said they are there, here in the pacific alone on the top of my head I could name:  the chair of the WCPFC, the compliance manager, the tuna management advisor, the heads of two long lining companies are all incredible capable woman at the tope of their game.

As a I said before, I’m not coming into this issue from a “new age” approach but from a fairness approach and just from general attitude of pointing out what is wrong, assuming any fault of my own that contributed to it and help fixing it.

My friend and college Katrina Nakamura (another very incredible capable woman in seafood) finish her mails with a phrase by Francis Picabia: "Our heads are round so that our thoughts can turn." Hence if you have not done much about by ignorance or position, start changing that.

What can one do about it… well a lot… just by raising awareness is a best start, and bring the concept in your decision-making. I’m just a consultant, but for example I don't participate a speaker in conferences anymore if they don't have more female presenters that in the last edition.

Men and women occupy distinct roles all along the seafood value chain and regardless of location or level of industry development country, female workers are consistently over-represented in low skill, low paid, low valued positions and remain mostly absent at the other end of the value chain. The distribution of power and profit between the two sexes is uneven.

Women are a key resource shaping and contributing to the seafood industry, yet they remain noticeably absent from public discourse, research and industry development initiatives. Women in our industry are effectively rendered invisible and undervalued by decision takers and policy makers

So read the report, spread it around and do something about it… simple as that. Because at the end of the day, you would not be reading this if it wasn't for a woman when your life started.