Women in Scottish fisheries: literature review

Findings from a review of research literature, case studies and examples of good practice from Scotland and beyond, alongside existing government strategies, to provide insights into challenges and opportunities presented for women in Scottish fishing.

2. Methodology

The project comprised of a review of literature, government documentation, and research reports. It began in September 2021 with informal discussions with colleagues in Marine Scotland, DEFRA, Seafish and across the Scottish Government which helped to ascertain priorities and finalise decisions regarding the scope of the project. The following research questions were constructed:

  • What are the perceived and lived challenges for women in Scottish fisheries?
  • What opportunities have supported women in fishing communities in Scotland and beyond?
  • Women are not a homogenous category – therefore, how do other intersectional factors contribute to the experiences of women in fisheries?

Following this, the in-house library was used to produce relevant literature searches. Literature suggested by the library was triangulated with additional literature searches through public engines (Google Scholar, SCOPUS) and with a discussion with colleagues to ensure the review covered a comprehensive range of literature and relevant reports. Due to a lack of literature focusing specifically on women in Scottish fisheries, this overview includes literature on women in fisheries across the UK, elsewhere in Europe and in North America, as well as literature and reports on women in Scottish agriculture and other professions where women are underrepresented. In the literature review there was an attempt to be systematic (Denyer and Tranfield, 2009) and follow the process of:

1. Locating existing studies

2. Selecting and evaluating contributions

3. Analysing and synthesising data

4. Reporting findings in a way that addresses the posed questions

5. Identifying evidence gaps and areas for further research.

However, a large number of sources identified through literature searches and high variability in their relevance to the context of Scottish fisheries meant that some aspects of the review were subjective and guided by a critical assessment of the literature with the aim of finding the most updated and relevant information on the topic (Boell and Cecez-Kecmanovic, 2016).

Due to time constraints no new primary data was gathered over the course of the project, therefore future work on the topic should strive to engage more directly with women in fisheries and fishing communities to enable better nuance and further analysis of the Scottish context.


Email: oana.racu@gov.scot

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