Perceptions of gender dynamics in small-scale fisheries and conservation

A case study in the Pursat Province of Tonle Sap Lake, Cambodia by Y.K. Eugenia Kwok, University of Guelph, 2017 (Advisor: Evan Fraser).

Women’s contributions in small-scale fisheries of Tonle Sap Lake are often overlooked due to socio-cultural expectations of roles and responsibilities. I investigated whether there are differences between men’s and women’s perceptions of 1) fishing and non-fishing practices, 2) power, access, and control over fishing resources, and 3) conservation and conservation areas in the Pursat province of Cambodia. I interviewed fishers and key informants and found that men more frequently acknowledged unequal power dynamics, access to, and control over fishing resources than women. Both groups had contrasting ideas of community fisheries and conservation. Fisherwomen believed they faced distinct health and safety challenges in conservation areas. Gender norms and community perspectives engrained specific roles and practices for women that limited more active participation. Future programs must be designed with detailed understanding of the ways that men and women perceive their engagement in fisheries and how norms may shape both opportunities that they have to actively participate in management.

Contact: Eugenia Kwok