Monday, March 7, 2016

07/03/2016: Leading by example

Recognising International Women’s Day (IWD) AwF Woman of the month for March 2016 – Prof Indah Susilowati

Aquaculture without Frontiers, celebrating its first Board Meeting at Seafood Expo North America in Boston took time to recognise the amazingly awesome women that are engaged in aquaculture, fisheries and the seafood industry in general.

AwF are delighted to announce the woman of the month for March Indah Susilowati, who is a Professor in the Faculty of Economics and Business based at Diponegoro University, Semarang, Indonesia. Since undertaking her Master and PhD programs in resource economics at the University of Putra in Malaysia, she has published extensively on her major research interests in resource and fisheries economics.
Prof Susilowati with her youngest daughter
In Indonesia, women participate in many aspects of fisheries activities, especially in post-harvest and trading activities, however, due to a low appreciation of gender equality, they often remain marginalised. How can attitudes towards women in aquaculture and fisheries in Indonesia be changed?

Education can be a pathway forward, and, in particular, higher education can be a tool for understanding the issues. Indah Susilowati is one woman leader who through her academic leadership has developed a passion for understanding and highlighting the contributions women make in fisheries and aquaculture, and finding ways to improve their outlook.

In addition, she has become a champion for her students both by encouraging their research amongst fishing and aquaculture communities in coastal Indonesia, and helping them build their careers by ensuring they have international exposure to broaden their perspectives. Partly thanks to her international outreach, she along with her faculty colleagues and students have become leaders in addressing the gendered impacts of climate change in coastal Indonesia.

Their recent studies have shown how climate change has made earning a living in fishing communities even more difficult. The rise in sea level, variable seasons and extreme weather events, have all contributed to declining fish catches and has limited fishing time at sea. Women have had to shoulder more debt to save their families and compensate for the lost income. Due to her acknowledged leadership in Indonesia, Indah has been able to convey these concerns to policy and decision makers.

Her influence in Indonesia and the Asia region is extended through her consultancy services and research partnerships with several local Governments, institutions and research agencies, for example, the WorldFish Centre and her membership in international professional societies, especially the Asian Fisheries Society (AFS) and the International Institute of Fisheries Economic and Trade (IIFET). Indah also has a high commitment in advocating the green environment, fisheries management and conflict resolution to communities and stakeholders.

IWD began as a massive protest by women who wanted better working conditions, better pay, and the right to vote. But since then, March 8 has evolved into a day of awareness on women's progress in the ongoing fight for gender equality, and a day to address issues across the globe that directly affect women. Something we at AwF totally support.

Visit the AwF site HERE.

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