On the 30th of June, as a WIOMSA pre-symposium activity, Women in Marine Science Network (WiMS), in collaboration with Mundus maris, hosted a workshop to discuss the gender dimension in marine science and practice. About 30 women, leading researchers, academics, scientists, policy makers, practitioners and students from Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, South Africa, Reunion (France) and Tanzania came together to explore “what could we start to do here and now together towards gender equity in the context of our work on conservation and sustainable use of the Western Indian Ocean?”

We started reminding ourselves of the major objectives of SDG 14 “Life below water” adopted together with 16 other interconnected sustainable development goals in 2015 by the UN General Assembly as part of Agenda 2030. Sharing our success stories on this field showed that we have made a meaningful impact on the lives of others.

The participatory approach of the workshop enabled a dialogue on issues that matter to us as professionals while giving the opportunity to share best practices and knowledge across our respective fields of expertise and experience.

We watched a six-minute FAO video about the Sustainable Small Fisheries Voluntary Guidelines and had three rounds of conversations to address the challenges faced by coastal communities in the region, in particular women in artisanal fisheries.

Exploring the gender dimension in the governance, fisheries value chains and social development aspects made us see opportunities for progress for fresh research and practice.

At the end of the day, we realised very clearly that together, we can achieve things we couldn’t do as individuals, so we identified promising key levers for collaboration, through WiMS, towards better results on maritime challenges and gender equity in our professional careers.

We concluded by proposing ways we can work together, defining technical priorities, capacity building and advocacy activities.

If you are not yet member, please join us! You are most welcome as member or supporter of our network. Become a member of WIOMSA and then enrol in WiMS at no additional cost.

About WiMS: In March 2017, the WIOMSA Board of Trustees approved the WIOMSA Gender Policy and in November of the same year, the Network for Women in Marine Science (WiMS) was launched during the 10th WIOMSA Scientific Symposium in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Together we can achieve more!

This text was also the contribution by Cornelia E. Nauen and Maria Fernanda Arraes to the 2nd Symposium Newsletter.

The initial outline of the workshop is here.The agenda can be found here.