Despite women making up about half of the global fisheries workforce, it is believed that women are much less involved in community-based fisheries management than men. There is, however, limited evidence available on the extent and nature of their involvement. This paper responds to the gap by asking how representation of women is working in fisheries co-management, what the effects of their representation and participation are and by identifying constraints on their effective participation. Lake Victoria, East Africa, is an example of a fisheries co-management system with a quota set for the minimum inclusion of women in community-based structures. Research undertaken in the three countries bordering the lake, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, found that participation of women in fisheries co-management committees has generally been accepted at the landing site level. The participation of women allows different networks to be represented and reached and examples were given of advocacy and initiatives to strengthen women’s livelihoods through representation in co-management committees. However, although the quota system was often complied with, and support for women’s participation expressed, the effective participation of women is limited by prevailing gendered norms and relations.
- Lake Victoria