France: Nonprofit organization Women in the Seafood Industry closes down

by Eurofish
Fighting women's discrimination

Women account for almost half the workforce in the seafood industry; however, less than 15% of them hold high and well-paid positions. WSI has shown the way and now other individuals and institutions must step up as the move towards greater equality between genders must continue for the sake of future generations.

Throughout history and across the globe, leadership positions in the seafood industry, from vessel captains to corporate CEOs, have been dominated by men. Around the world, fish and shellfish processing plants mostly employ women on the factory floor but men in the management. In North America and Europe, women who captain their own fishing boat are famous (some have Youtube channels) solely because there are so few of them. All the world’s women who chair an international seafood corporation could hold a meeting in a small boardroom.


In the last several years women have gained enhanced recognition and gender acceptance in this “masculine” industry, and one body to thank for this is the International Organization for Women in the Seafood Industry. WSI was founded in 2016 by a group of gender and seafood experts as a feminist organization to join the battle for gender equality and women’s empowerment in the seafood sector. “Over the past six years, WSI has been an influential international feminist organization and recognized as a first-class source of reliable scientific information on gender issues in many publications, fora and events,” as described on WSI’s website.

However, increasing financial constraints have put pressure on WSI, and in a statement issued in December its board announced that WSI is reluctantly ceasing operations. “The decision was made with much regret and following long deliberations,” WSI’s board said in a news release. “However, the spirit of the work remains. Hence, WSI is hopeful that other organizations, companies, and institutions – working in fisheries and aquaculture, human and social rights, feminism, and gender equality – will start or continue to build on WSI’s legacy to keep the fight for a seafood industry free of gender inequalities, free of sexism and gender-based discriminations, where everybody enjoys equal opportunities and working conditions.”

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