Dhaka, November 22, 2020. A recent study conducted by COAST Trust finds that all the women workers of the coastal fisheries are getting lower wages compared to their male counterparts. Women members of the coastal fisheries are also lack empowerment, especially their participation in the decision-making process is also very much low. The COAST Trust conducted the special study by collecting data from 1,200 fisher families in six unions in four Upazilas of the three coastal districts of Cox’s Bazar, Bhola, and Bagerhat.
COAST Trust organized an event titled “COAST Study finds Coastal Women Fishers are Suffering from ‘Pay Discrimination’ Women are excluded from Decision Making Process at Home and Society 65% Women are Victim of Sorts of Violence” about the findings of the study in CIRDAP Auditorium, Dhaka. COAST Deputy Executive Director, Sanat Kumar Bhowmik moderated the event while Mostafa Kamal Akanda, Director of the organization delivered a welcome speech and Md. Mujibul Haque Munir joint Director of the organization presented the keynote paper.
Md. Mujibul Haque Munir said. that all the women workers involved in fish processing are getting 25% less wages than male workers. 31% of women of fishing families do not have an opinion on the purchase of family property, 56% of women members do not have an opinion on the general expenditure of the family. On the other hand, only 2% of women members of the families of the fishers have directly contacted the concerned Union Parishad for any special need and 82% of women have never participated in any arbitration or any other decision-making process of the society. Moreover, 65% of female members of the families of the fishers are victims of some form of violence.
Md. Israil Pandit, President of Bangladesh Small-scale Fishermen Shomity said that if the government open water bodies can be leased to the women fishers then their participation and empowerment can be ensured. Government usually distributes lands to farmers of the riverine areas, not to the fishermen. We should lobby on this for getting the emerged land also by fishermen. The Association for Development Agencies in Bangladesh (ADAB) representative, Ms. Anamika told that microfinance goes to the fisherwomen but they have no right to spend the money. This money should be spent by them. Trade Union Leader Ms. Saleha Shantana Islam told that the fishermen should have the formal appointment letters so that after any death they can be identified under which boat owners they are. Mr. Mir Mohammad Ali, Lecturer, Fisheries Faculty of Sher-E-Bangla Agricultural University emphasized the alternative income-generating activities of the fishermen so that they can survive their livelihood during the ban period. The Executive Director of UDAYAN Bangladesh Mr. Ashaduzzaman Sheik told that women fishers’ income goes to their husbands and this is one of the causes not to be the empowerment of women fishers. The Executive Director of Dwip Unnyan Sangstha told that we should call them fishermen, not as matshajibi. He also told that the involvement of women fishers should be increased in the fisheries sector for their empowerment. The representative of Director General of the Department of Fisheries, Ms. Shilpi Dey, District Fishery Officer (Reserved) added that if we implement the women policy that has been developed by the government in 2011 then it is easier to ensure the empowerment of the women especially the fisher women. She urged for capacity development of the fisher women through training for alternative income-generating activities.
A number of recommendations were made at the seminar, namely: to formulate special policies to identify the contribution of women in the fisheries sector, to involve women members of fishing families in economic activities, to ensure women’s participation in various fisheries programs, and to implement labor policies for fishermen and to issue ID card for women fishers. Mr. Aminur Rasul Babul, A. S. M Badrul Alam, Ferdous Ara Rumee, Shahidul Alam Faruk, H.M.Hasan Al Mamun, Tasnuba Jaman, Shamim Ara also spoke in the event.
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