Building business, enriching lives: an Indonesian initiative to empower women in the fishing communities

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4 Citations (Scopus)


An estimated 34 million Indonesians are dependent on the fisheries sector for their livelihood in a nation with over 17.504 islands and a total coastal length of 104.000 km. One important aspect that needs to be evaluated on the lives of artisanal fisherman is gender equality and the role of the woman in fishing and fish processing. Indonesian Government initiatives like Kartu Nelayan (Fisherman Identity Cards) have barely improved the participation, capacity building, development, and welfare of these women who are wives of the fisherman. This paper explores the viability of organizing women into a cooperative to achieve greater gender equality and participation. The paper investigates the grassroot support for such a cooperative to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 5 (equality in gender) and Goal 1 (end of poverty). The research uses both primary and secondary sources; and in particular responses to a questionnaire that was administered to the wives of fishermen conducted in Tegal and Wonogiri, Central Java, Indonesia. It was found that the women overwhelmingly supported the establishment of a cooperative in both these areas due to the familiarity with the business model but identified several problems in its execution. The paper makes practical recommendations for the realisation of this business model. This research can also serve as a starting point for women in other fishing communities throughout the world to achieve alternative ways in participating and contributing in the economic lives of their families.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)595-616
Number of pages22
JournalWMU Journal of Maritime Affairs
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


  • Cooperative
  • Fishing
  • Gender equality
  • Indonesia
  • Sustainable Goal 5
  • Women empowerment


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