Press Release, Castries, Saint Lucia
“Women today have only three-quarters of the legal rights that men have; this limits their ability to get jobs, start businesses and make economic decisions that are best for them and their families. They also earn 20 per cent less than men.” (Source: World Bank 2019)
Nonetheless, jobs in fisheries, oceans science and research, teaching, policy and decision-making, are treasured by women, who are continually empowered to contribute to the effective conservation and sustainable use of oceans, seas and marine resources.
World Oceans Day, observed every year on June 8, is recognised by the United Nations as a day of celebration and action to protect the ocean, which regulates the climate, feeds millions of people every year, produces oxygen, is the home to an incredible array of wildlife, provides us with important medicines, and so much more! This year, the theme, “Gender and the Ocean” focuses on promoting gender equality in the sector, and calls on nations to “explore the gender dimension of humankind’s relationship with the ocean”.
World Oceans Day is an opportunity to raise global awareness of the current challenges faced by the international community in connection with the oceans, and highlight the impacts of human actions on the ocean, with the hope of encouraging sustainable ocean management.
Saint Lucia has been striving to promote gender equality over the years, with women thriving in key ocean-related fields, roles and activities, like in ocean governance and sustainable development, maritime affairs and fisheries, and serving as tour operators, recreational service providers, Coastal Engineers and Marine Biologists, among others, while encouraging young girls to take up the mantle at all levels.
Women have continually made waves in the diving and fisheries sectors in Saint Lucia, with an increased 4.75% of women being registered as fishers as at December 31, 2018, as compared to the previous year. The recently elected President of St. Lucia Fisherfolk Cooperative, Ms. Dannie James, champions the role of women in the fisheries sector, calling on women to add value to this very diverse sector – not only as fishers, but in areas of management, record-keeping, business development and the like.
Minister for Sustainable Development, the Honourable Dr. Gale T.C. Rigobert supports this, adding that “As we continue to ensure that gender equality is included in all development planning, we must explore the various roles women can play in data management, decision-making and enforcement, mindful that we promote the sustainable use of oceans resources, while taking advantage of the opportunities for the successful implementation of both Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG 14) which addresses ‘life below water’, and Goal 5 which targets ‘gender equality’”.
Sustainable Development and Environment Division
June 5, 2019