Ghana has implemented gender legislation, however the need remains for additional policy reforms and other enabling conditions for men and women to realize their full rights and overcome gender inequities in the fisheries sector. Gender roles are delineated clearly, in general, with men often holding the greatest influence and authority over decision-making at all levels. That said, in fisheries, women play an influential, but less visible, role in the value-chain as processors and traders who connect products to markets. As a result, women often have low representation on co-management committees.
The SFMP has an important responsibility and numerous opportunities to break out of “business-as-usual.” practices and attitudes. Because many women in Ghana own the fishing vessels and finance the fishing trips, they could wield considerable power over fishing decisions and influence changes in behavior that could have a positive impact on the fishery. What women are lacking is a nationally organized association to provide a platform for engagement. The SFMP will work especially closely with partners DAA and CEWEFIA, who are engaged intensively with women in fisheries. Because women fish processors are also large consumers of fuel wood, of which mangrove is preferred, women could play a critical role in promoting sustainability of this supply. SFMP will also ask men and women in the target project areas for their ideas on how to strengthen men’s and women’s roles in co-management to the benefit of fishing communities and households.
To ensure that the project assesses the impacts of its gender work and learns from experience, the project will develop a gender mainstreaming learning agenda. As part of this learning agenda, the team will review the SFMP monitoring and evaluation plan to map out how to process and use the gender disaggregated data that will come out of the project’s routine monitoring. If the gender team finds that there are gaps in the routine monitoring, it will develop complementary gender monitoring activities. One such activity will be conducting a baseline study on women in leadership roles within SFMP fisheries stakeholder groups. The gender mainstreaming lessons learned will be communicated through policy briefs, newsletter articles, and the project’s general quarterly reports.