In low-income countries, women are farmers and fishers and play key roles as entrepreneurs and in the workforce throughout fish agri-food systems. Yet, despite these contributions and their significant influence on household nutrition and wellbeing, women generally have less voice in decision making at multiple scales and face more severe constraints than men in accessing information, financial and technical services, and markets. Moreover, because of the above and underlying barriers such as norms around domestic and caregiver roles, women tend to be disproportionally represented in unpaid and lower-return roles and opportunities and so do not yet benefit on par with men in and from fish agri-food systems.

Gender research with FISH generates innovative, reliable and scalable solutions to overcome gender barriers in fish agri-food systems. In doing so, it facilitates food and nutrition security and enhanced livelihood and environmental outcomes through enabling gender equality and women’s empowerment. At the same time, FISH recognizes women’s empowerment and gender equality as end goals in and of themselves, and contributes to these through the unique and potent opportunities of aquaculture and small-scale fisheries.

FISH integrates gender within its research on aquaculture and small-scale fisheries and also carries out strategic research on gender within both CRP flagships. The research focuses on the main pathways of:  gender-responsive and inclusive innovation in technologies and practices, including extension, in fish agri-food systems; innovation for inclusive, equitable and empowering livelihoods and wealth generation; and, innovation for inclusive, equitable and empowering governance and agri-food systems. Within these, FISH investigates key cross-cutting themes of: access to and control over assets and resources; decision making; and gender norms.

As well as taking a gender accommodative approach, FISH is a pioneer in gender transformative approaches.  As such, FISH research engages with factors underlying unequal gender dynamics, in particular gender norms, stereotypes, and practices that inhibit gender equality. In doing so, FISH seeks to engage both women and men in identifying and creating opportunities for locally-driven and context-appropriate shifts towards gender equality.