SDG 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
The world’s oceans—spreading over 70 per cent of the planet—are in crisis from decimated fish stocks, pollution and acidification. Sustainable management is essential, since oceanic changes can result in globally significant climate shifts. Equally vital is the protection of human livelihoods. Nearly a billion people, 12 percent of the global population, depend on oceans, seas and marine resources to survive. In Central and Southern Asia, where 16.6 per cent of women are employed in fishing, aquaculture and related activities, marine contamination may have an even larger impact.
Women face the risks of ocean degradation with fewer assets and alternatives for income, and less resilience against mounting losses.
Fishing and aquaculture are marked by significant occupational segregation, with men primarily involved in fish and aquaculture harvesting, and women largely concentrated in low-skilled, low-paid secondary jobs such as fish processing and marketing. They often work without contracts or health, safety and labour rights protections. Many are constrained by the lack of access to technology and other resources, even basic refrigeration to keep fish stocks fresh.
The maritime industry is almost completely managed by men. In 2016, only one of the top 100 seafood companies was run by a woman.
UN Women works to empower women in ocean-based livelihoods and to lead sustainable development efforts.
From where I stand: “I became the first fisherwoman in my community”
Yayi Bayam Diouf, 68, broke many stereotypes when she became the first fisherwoman in her village in Senegal. Now, she uses her skills and knowledge to help other women secure livelihood through sustainable fishing and fish farming.
In photos: Women of Seychelles lead efforts towards healthy oceans
For island communities, the declining health of the oceans threatens lives, livelihood and food security. In the island nation of Seychelles, ocean-based tourism is the backbone of the economy and men and women rely on the ocean for sustainable living. Women are also leading marine conservation and sustainable use of the ocean in Seychelles.
A new life for women in Colombia’s artisanal fishing industry
In South-West Colombia, where the civil war has left lasting impact, the Nueva Vida (New Life) project, aims to boost women’s income and participation in the fishing sector through trainings on business skills, marine legislation, sustainable fishing practices and environmental management.
 UN Women (2018), Turning promises into action: Gender equality in the 2030 Agenda.