Fisherwomen's (perempuan nelayan) struggle for their recognition and rights, Indonesia

Fisherwomen in Indonesia mobilise and establish networks like PPNI, collaborate with other fisheries justice networks and movements like KIARA and WFFP and demand recognition of their work, and their social, political and economic rights.


Women working in fisheries and aquaculture sectors are usually exposed to lower wages, less recognition, less social and economic protection, and precarious and invisible jobs, although their role informal and/or nonpaid labor are very important for these sectors. Fisherwomen are in general exposed to social and economic discrimination: they are paid (at least) 12% less than men for what appears to be the same work [6]. "These numbers are quite dubious since most women work informally or realize nonpaid work; thus, available data is usually incapable of covering the multidimensional work undertaken by women in fishing and aquaculture sectors [7]. However, they are one of the main social groups whose voices are usually silenced and whose labor becomes invisible. Clearly, this has a crucial impact on environmental injustices related to fisheries and aquaculture, regarding women both opposing fish farm projects and/or working in the aquaculture sector" [5].

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Basic Data
NameFisherwomen's (perempuan nelayan) struggle for their recognition and rights, Indonesia
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Aquaculture and fisheries
Specific CommoditiesShrimps
Biological resources
Project Details and Actors
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date01/01/2010
Relevant government actorsThe Government of Indonesia, the House of the Representatives (DPR) of Indonesian Republic
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersKIARA (Koalisi Rakyat untuk Keadilan Perikanan):;

PPNI (Persauduraan Perempuan Nelayan Indonesia, Fisherwomen's Sisterhood in Indonesia): ;

WFFP (World Forum of Fisher People):
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Groups MobilizingIndigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Social movements
Fisher people
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Health ImpactsPotential: Occupational disease and accidents
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Other socio-economic impacts, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment
Potential: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures
OtherFisherwomen are exposed to a range of challenges that the small-scale fishermen are suffering from but they are even not recognised as workers in this sector, usually do not have social and health security, and work in very bad conditions.
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseStrengthening of participation
Development of AlternativesFisherwomen demand recognition of their work, equal rights like fishermen and equal protection under the laws and legislations.
Do you consider this as a success?Yes
Why? Explain briefly.The network PPNI has been successful in making important steps towards ensuring fisherwomen's recognition and rights in Indonesia. They strengthened their struggle by collaborating with other networks like KIARA and WFFP and became widely known. These collaborations and their own network empowered them and made their voices stronger while demanding state protection and their social, economic and political rights.
Sources and Materials

[5] The political ecology of marine finfish aquaculture in Europe: discourses, implicit assumptions, commodity frontiers and environmental justice (Ertör, PhD dissertation, 2017)
[click to view]

[6] Summary of the report “The role of women in fisheries” (EC 2002)
[click to view]

[7] Turning the tide: Women’s lives in the fisheries and the assault of

capital (Biswas 2011, Economic & Political Weekly, XLVI(51))
[click to view]

[9] PPNI Booklet (KIARA, 21.01.2016)
[click to view]

[12] Jurnal Pelampan, Special Issue on Fisherwomen (Vol. 22, No. 4, 2017)
[click to view]


[3] KIARA's Webpage
[click to view]

[10] PPNI: PEREMPUAN; PIHAK PALING MENDERITA DARI PROYEK REKLAMASI (PPNI: Fisherwomen, the most suffering actor of the Jakarta Bay Reclamation Project) (25.04.2016)
[click to view]

[1] News about the activities of PPNI: Women Fishers, Our Protein Heroes! On Erasing Discrimination and Strengthening Local Economy (Medium, Maria Christina S. Guerrero and Susan Herawati, Jakarta, Indonesia, 14 October 2017)
[click to view]

[4] Fisherwomen have the Right to get Protection and Empowerment from the State (KIARA, 2015)
[click to view]

[8] Women's Day March in Jakarta (Jakarta Globe, 08.03.2018)
[click to view]

[11] Nasib Perempuan Nelayan / Fate of Fisherwomen (KIARA, 28.05.2014)
[click to view]

Media Links

[2] Fisherwomen and their struggle for recognition in Indonesia (Video Journal Perempuan)
[click to view]

Other Documents

Representatives of the Sisterhood of Indonesian Fisherwomen (PPNI) participating in the March on the International Women's Day, Indonesia, 8 March 2018 [8] Representatives of the Sisterhood of Indonesian Fisherwomen (PPNI) demand that the government recognizes their profession. (8 March 2018, JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro) [8]
[click to view]

Members of KIARA struggling for fisheries justice (New Delhi, 21 November 2017) Members of KIARA struggling for fisheries justice (New Delhi, 21 November 2017)
[click to view]

Indonesian Fisherwomen from PPNI participating in the Fishers' March in New Delhi (21 November 2017) Indonesian Fisherwomen from PPNI participating in the Fishers' March in New Delhi (21 November 2017)
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorIrmak Ertör, ENVJUSTICE Project, ICTA-UAB
Last update23/10/2018