International Women’s Day | Women fishers more exploited under current fisheries law

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Manila, Philippines – On the day of the International Women’s Day, the fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya-Pilipinas) said that women in fisheries are more vulnerable to exploitation due to the current fisheries laws and programs imposed by the current and past regimes.

Pamalakaya said that while women plays a significant role in the pre-harvest and post-harvest production, their role is undervalued as it is only viewed as an extension of their household production and domestic chores.

Citing the data from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), women undertake 50-70 percent of local fish processing and marketing activities. The FAO claimed that women are involved in fishing production by many forms, from preparation of fishing gear to involvement in fishing, harvesting, distributing and marketing. Yet women in fisheries have not received any program that will support and recognize them.

The exploitation and oppression of women in fisheries sector is a twofold blow; we have a patriarchal society which blatantly discriminates women; and anti-fisheries laws and programs that submerged the fisherfolk into deepest poverty.” Salvador France, Pamalakaya vice-chairperson said in a statement.

The existing fisheries law in the country, the amended 18-year old Fisheries Code of 1998 suppressed the fisherfolk to ascend from the quagmire of poverty.

Emphasizing how the women in fisheries are in double whammy exploitation, Pamalakaya said that the fisherfolk sector has the highest poverty incidence in the country, with the poverty rate of 39.2%, while women as the fifth, with 25.9% poverty rate, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

A pro-people socio-economic development such as national industrialization based on genuine agrarian and fisheries reform are the crucial steps towards the end of all types of feudal-exploitation that will liberate the women and the people in general.” France ended.

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