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Gender Dynamics of Ocean Risk and Resilience in the Global South – SRC

Project Lead: Stockholm Resilience Centre (SRC)
Supporting partners: Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions, University of British Columbia, Wildlife Conservation Society
Financial Support: Government of Canada

Location: Global South


ORRAA has commissioned ground-breaking research to analyse the gender dynamics of ocean risk, highlight the contribution of women to a sustainable blue economy, strengthen pathways to increase women’s engagement, and help foster fair and inclusive livelihood opportunities. An initial report highlighted gender roles in two key sectors of the blue economy – small-scale fisheries and coastal tourism – across Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and coastal Least Developed Countries (LDCs). Follow-up country factsheets will synthesise the latest data and information on women’s contributions to the seafood sector, with the aim of facilitating opportunities to increase women’s representation in fisheries governance and to strengthen social resilience.


The Ocean, coastlines and coastal communities are on the front line of climate change and are significantly impacted by increasing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions. The world’s poor, the majority of whom are women, are disproportionately vulnerable to growing ocean risks and often lack access to opportunities to build resilience.

Both fisheries and tourism have been highlighted as pivotal sectors to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Women play crucial roles across fishery value chains and throughout the tourism sector. Yet women’s roles, contributions, priorities, and interests tend to be overlooked and undervalued across sectors, as well as in policy and management. In addition, women are underrepresented in policy and decision-making because of restrictive social-cultural norms. Gender discrimination threatens to increase women’s vulnerability to ocean risks.


An initial report, published in October 2021, highlighted gender roles in two key sectors of the blue economy – small-scale fisheries and coastal tourism. It describes the gendered dimensions of ocean risks and summarises efforts across SIDS and coastal LDCs to advance gender equitable approaches throughout the blue economy. This report is part of a series focused on ocean risk and resilience in SIDS and LDCs.

Further work is now underway with local stakeholders to co-develop factsheets for countries spanning diverse economic and social-ecological settings. The factsheets aim to expand the evidence base needed to reduce ocean risk and strengthen social resilience by 1) increasing recognition of women’s contribution to coastal fisheries while supporting their well-being; 2) help facilitate pathways to women’s greater engagement in fisheries governance in the Global South; and 3) foster fair and inclusive livelihood opportunities and benefits, that are in line with ambitions central to a sustainable blue economy, international human rights, and gender equality aspirations.

Scalability and Next Steps

This project is focused on advancing gender equality benefits to women and girls through improved welfare and action. These benefits extend beyond the individual, to women’s households and communities, and help countries realise their full development potential, especially within the context of a sustainable blue economy. Finance, in the form of Official Development Assistance (ODA) and climate risk insurance, plays a critical role in supporting gender responsive (transformative) approaches to build resilience to ocean risks. Donors should demonstrate their commitment to, and leadership on, gender equality in development and resilience projects across the sustainable blue economy by increasing their total and proportional allocations to gender-focused programming.