Contribution of women’s fisheries substantial, but overlooked, in Timor-Leste

A greater understanding of gendered roles in fisheries is necessary to value the often-hidden roles that women play in fisheries and households. We examine women’s contributions to household food and income using focus group discussions, market surveys, and landings data in six communities in Timor-Leste. Women were actively fishing more days per month than men. Gleaning was the most frequent activity and 100% of trips returned with catch for food and/or income. Mollusc and crab catches were common and exploitation appeared targeted on a dynamic reappraisal of changing food values and changing estimates of group needs. With as many as 80% of households in coastal areas involved in fishing, and at least 50% of women fishing, this highlights the current lack of women’s engagement as a critical gap in fisheries management approaches. The current androcentric dialogue limits social-ecological understanding of these systems and the potential for their effective stewardship.