Better support for women fishermen could also help protect the environment they depend on. Harper said one of the questions she hopes to answer is how men and women fish differently. She told me (a reporter), "If I could know how different species of fish are caught by males and females," that would greatly affect the accuracy of the study's calculation of catch production. This information will also enable conservation groups to engage with the right stakeholders, which will further strengthen species and habitat conservation efforts.
Photo Credit: Reuters / Dazhi Image For telemarketing list example, in North Sumatra, women gather crustaceans in mangroves, and they are also highly involved in ecotourism and mangrove conservation. From Heravati's experience, women's participation in childcare is a common issue across Indonesia. And female fishermen can completely change the situation. "They're very connected to the ecosystem," she said, and "they know exactly what's wrong with the ocean." Both Harpo and Hlavati strongly believe that the government (especially the Indonesian government) must do more to count the number of women fishermen.
These new statistics are meant to start conversations, not end them. "It's obviously better to have someone calculate and provide data so that people can respond to it than to estimate it yourself," Harper said. Regardless of the exact number of women involved in fisheries and their economic output, women are clearly already important players in Indonesia's fisheries, and if they can be recognized and supported institutionally, it will be possible to increase their participation rate and productivity.