Turning the Tides of Inclusion: A Toolkit for Gender Equality in Ocean Sectors

Cover image of the 'Turning the Tides of Inclusion' report

This toolkit offers practical guidance on how to implement gender-responsive practices in marine conservation, fisheries, maritime transportation and tourism, in order to empower women and gender minorities and unlock the full potential of sustainable blue economies. Based on research and stakeholder consultations, and designed to provide clear guidance on meaningfully integrating gender perspectives into ocean policies and practices through practical guidance and best practices, the toolkit should serve as a valuable resource for it is an invaluable resource for policymakers, organisations and individuals dedicated to advancing gender equity in ocean sectors.

Download full report (PDF)

Executive Summary

The Commonwealth Blue Charter (CBC) is an agreement by all 56 Commonwealth member countries to actively co-operate to not only solve ocean-related
challenges, but to also meet international commitments for sustainable ocean action. The text of the CBC1 underscores that the 16 Principles of the Charter of the Commonwealth must be applied when meeting ocean-related commitments, including gender equality.

Additionally, under its principles of co-operation and knowledge sharing, the CBC recognises that developing strong, sustainable and innovative blue economies that promote sustainable development and an enabling environment that is fair, equitable and inclusive of men and women in marine and maritime industries is a common goal and challenge across the Commonwealth.

This toolkit considers the challenges and opportunities for gender equity in ocean sectors and provides suggestions on how Commonwealth governments can mainstream gender through ocean policies, advocacy and science. It considers the impact of gender equity, highlighting that gender mainstreaming is indispensable, and results in more effective resource management, resilient coastal communities and, ultimately, a healthier and more sustainable ocean ecosystem, benefitting both current and future generations. Gender mainstreaming is a cornerstone of responsible and effective ocean governance in an increasingly inclusive, interconnected and interdependent world.

    It presents 10 recommendations to guide gender mainstreaming in ocean sectors.

    1. Establish a full-time gender officer position to ensure sustained focus on gender mainstreaming efforts.
    2. Implement mandatory gender trainings to foster awareness and commitment to gender equality principles.
    3. Enhance leadership representation of underrepresented women in influential climate decision-making forums.
    4. Implement inclusive workplace policies to support gender equality and work–life balance.
    5. Collaborate with men to address gender dimensions in ocean science and climate adaptation.
    6. Promote STEM education for women and girls to cultivate future leaders in ocean sectors.
    7. Collect gender-disaggregated data to inform policies addressing gender disparities effectively.
    8. Provide financial support programmes to promote gender equality and empower women in non-traditional marine roles.
    9. Establish mentorship programmes for women’s career development in ocean sectors.
    10. Develop fairer job descriptions and promotion requirements considering women’s caregiving responsibilities.