"Fishing na everybody business": women's work and gender relations in Sierra Leone's fisheries

Andy Thorpe, Nicky Pouw, Andrew Baio, Ranita Sandi, Ernest Tom Ndomahina, Thomas Lebbie

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While small-scale fisheries in many developing countries is “everybody's business,” a gendered labor division concentrates production in the hands of fishermen while women dominate postharvest processing and retailing. The production bias of fisheries management programs has not only largely overlooked the role of fisherwomen, but also marginalized “fish mammies” in terms of resources and training. This study draws on three in-country fisheries surveys, as well as interviews and focus groups, and employs a gender-aware sustainable livelihood framework to make visible the economic space occupied by women in Sierra Leone's small-scale fisheries. The study highlights how women's variegated access to capital and resources interacts with social norms and reproductive work and argues for more social and economic investment in women's fish processing and reproductive work enabling them to reconcile both roles more effectively.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-77
JournalFeminist Economics
Issue number3
Early online date7 Apr 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Fisheries
  • gender relations
  • Sierra Leone
  • women and development
  • poverty


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