30 Jan 2019 - Efforts to support Timorese women fishers to participate in decisions about small-scale fisheries, including through the landmark Women Fishers’ Forum, are showing promise.
In the remote fishing village of Adara, on Atauro Island in Timor-Leste, men have typically made the decisions about how fishery resources should be managed. But following efforts to build women fishers’ empowerment, women now have a greater voice in governance discussions and are engaging in collective action.
“When we first went to Adara, only men turned up for meetings about fisheries,” said David Mills, the WorldFish research leader for Timor-Leste.
In 2016, WorldFish supported the introduction of a traditional community-based management approach known as tara bandu. “While the community was very keen for our support in setting up local management, eventually we made a decision not to start meetings until a strong group of women was present.”
Involving women was critical, said Mills, as the new approach would impact on women and men, who both actively engage in many types of fishing, and the community as a whole, which is increasingly focused on marine tourism.
“Very quickly, the involvement and contribution of women became normal in all meetings, and often meeting times were shifted to accommodate women’s needs,” he said.
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