Gendered ownership of aquaculture resources: Insights from two villages in Bangladesh
This brief (PDF) by CGIAR-Fish uses a gender lens to understand the nuanced gaps, perceptions and practices of ownership in aquaculture in Bangladesh. Ownership rights are crucial for increasing women’s decision-making power and empowerment outcomes, which in turn will impact household efficiency in agricultural productivity. In Bangladesh, however, there remains a large gendered gap in asset ownership. Ownership is perceived and experienced differently by men and women: women more often experience psychological ownership while men more frequently claim legal ownership. Factors ranging from property laws to age, experience and wealth also determine to what extent men and women are able to influence decisions. Finally, the study revealed gendered implications for women, whether they attain legal ownership or continue to experience psychological ownership. Recommendations in the design and implementation of gender-sensitive aquaculture projects are: 1) Projects should recognize joint ownership as a significant barrier to women’s capacity to innovate; 2) Ownership is important to combat women’s future insecurities. Projects need to ensure powerful owners are involved and consulted in the extension process so that women are better able to access and use the resource; 3) Ownership is linked to decision-making: women who contribute financially in acquiring resources or own a resource have better abilities to negotiate and to decide on usage and benefits derived from a resource; 4) Women’s knowledge of aquaculture influences their ownership, so transferring knowledge and building skills can have positive impacts on women’s control; 5) Since young women are especially vulnerable to ownership gaps, targeting them is necessary, and assertiveness, self-confidence and negotiating skills should be built into the extension process; 6) Social norms around what roles are deemed appropriate for women can hinder their capacity to use and benefit from a resource. Therefore, aquaculture projects should take steps to build family and community acceptance around new roles for women.