Women in aquaculture: initiatives of Caritas Bangladesh

In Bangladesh, women have proven to be competent in adopting aquaculture technologies, despite the fact that their role in aquaculture growth has not been sufficiently recognized and remains inadequately addressed. To ensure sustainability in aquaculture, it is necessary to understand related issues and develop gender sensitive interventions. The participation of women in different aspects of daily life is strongly affected by social, cultural and religious norms such as seclusion, segregation and the veiling of women in public. These restrictions and the gender division of labor have created the norm of a segregated and protected role for women, and have constrained women's mobility and participation in work outside the home. Traditionally, women have been involved in smallscale aquaculture in different stages of operation. They are active "caretakers" of fish in homestead ponds, nurseries, cages, and even in rice fields. It is only now that there is a growing recognition of the ability and potential of women in contributing to the national economy in the fisheries sector. Caritas Bangladesh has organized a total of 18 269 beneficiaries under its Aquaculture Program from 1998 to 2000, out of which 8 603 were women (47%). It has been observed that necessary capacity building support followed by some special provisions to overcome socio-cultural taboos have been successful in getting women involved in aquaculture. This paper reports the general status of women in fisheries, their potential in Bangladesh and the experience of gender-sensitive initiatives of Caritas Bangladesh.


Shelly, A.B., Costa, M.D. (2002)
Global Symposium on Women in Fisheries