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.

6. Conclusions and Recommendations

There is an overall lack of data pertaining to women in Scottish fisheries. More evidence is needed on:

  • Local-level insight into how women in fishing communities would feel best supported, including a discussion of career aspirations relative to existing opportunities.
  • Qualitative insight into how women in fisheries were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Views of men (of different ages) working in seafood jobs towards women and how these are changing.
  • Qualitative insight into experiences of other underrepresented groups in fisheries.
  • Evaluation of employers' needs in fisheries, to find out what parts of the sector can provide fair employment to new entrants in the industry.
  • Evaluation of the views of women in fishing communities towards the fishing industry, to find out their attitudes toward different types of employment in fisheries and beyond.
  • Quantitative evidence on the representation of women across the sector, especially related to onshore work in sales/finance for which there is little data.
  • Updated quantitative evidence on the gender pay gap in fisheries across the sector.

Key recommendations based on findings for the literature review

This concluding section provides a summary of the report in terms of key recommendations for future work on women in fisheries and highlights the most important gaps in evidence for the Scottish context.

  • Develop comprehensive research and action plans to assess and address the situation for women in fisheries.
  • Develop a sector wide network that connects women within the industry, including training and networking opportunities, mentorship schemes, and a space to raise concerns.
  • Continue to prioritise safety across the sector to minimise the occurrence of accidents at work, and develop alternative safe, fair, and sustainable opportunities for employment in fishing communities.
  • Provide financial security and support for fishers' spouses.
  • Strengthen rural childcare provisions through training more practitioners and developing pilot childcare programmes that suit specific needs of fishing communities.
  • Develop incentives to encourage better work-life balance.
  • Challenge traditional succession practices and other cultural factors which influence gender inequality in fisheries.

Equality and Sustainability

Scottish Government programmes emphasise equality and sustainability across the board. In the context of fisheries it may be helpful to consider the view that the two goals can be addressed alongside each other (Women-Fisheries, 2020). An industry which promotes equal access to resources and training, provides safe workplaces, is inclusive to people of all genders, those with caring responsibilities, and has diverse representation in leadership, will be more resilient to future challenges. In turn, it can garner more support and investments, become more sustainable, attract workforce from a wider pool of people, and become more resilient and creative in adapting to regulations developed to address the ongoing environmental change.


Email: oana.racu@gov.scot

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