Women workers involved in fish processing earn 25% lower wages than their male counterparts
Women in the fisheries sector are being neglected and around 62% of them have faced different forms of violence, a study has revealed.
They are being discriminated against in various respects, including wages in the workplace and work opportunities, it also stated.
Coast Trust, in association with Swed-Bio, conducted the study among fisherwomen in three districts. About 1,200 women from those areas participated in it.
Findings of the study were presented at a programme held in the Cirdap auditorium in the capital on Sunday.
"Women workers involved in fish processing earn 25% lower wages than males," said Coast Trust Joint Director Mujibul Haque Munir while presenting the keynote paper.
"There are around 19 lakh people directly and indirectly involved in the fishing sector and 10-12% of them are women," he said.
Women members of coastal fisheries lack empowerment and their participation in the decision-making process is also very low, he added.
According to the study, 58% of female members of fishing families do not have an opinion on the general expenditures of their families while 31% of females in such families have no opinion on the purchase of property.
Meanwhile, 82% of women have never participated in arbitration or any other decision-making process of the society while only 2% have directly contacted the local union parishad for a special purpose.
Speakers at the programme pointed out that fisherwomen's income goes to their husbands and this is one of the reasons why they lack empowerment.
Child marriage and early widowhood rates are higher in the fishing community. Further, women's hard work to roll the economic wheel of a family is not recognised here, they added.
District Fishery Officer Shilpi Dey said, "If we properly implement the women's policy developed in 2011, it will be easier to ensure women's empowerment, especially of fisherwomen."
She also emphasised the importance of the skill and capacity development of fisherwomen through training as well as alternative income-generating activities.
Md Israil Pandit, president of the Bangladesh Small-scale Fishermen Samity, said fisherwomen's participation and empowerment could be ensured if the government leased them water bodies.
The study recommended the formulation of special policies to identify the contribution of women in the fisheries sector and involve female members of fishing families in economic activities.
It also recommended ensuring women's participation in various fisheries programmes and implementing labour policies.
Researchers further recommended that ID cards be issued to fisherwomen.