International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food

Gender, Subsistence Fishing and Economic Change: A Comparative Study in Southern Veracruz, Mexico

International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food

Volume 14 (2006), pages 1-22

Authors: Verónica Vázquez-García and María Montes-Estrada
Affiliation: Department of Rural Development, Colegio de Postgraduados, Texcoco, Mexico

ISSN: 0798-1759


Abstract

Research on gender, the environment and development has shown that conservation programs have usually relied on gender stereotypes (women as environmental destroyers, victims or privileged resource managers), thereby neglecting the complex social arrangements that rule women’s and men’s use of natural resources in particular economic and environmental contexts.

Drawing on the Gender, Environment and Development (GED) literature, this paper examines the gender relations involved in the subsistence fishing activities of Ixhuapan and Ocozotepec, two indigenous communities of southern Veracruz, Mexico.

The paper shows that land tenure and economic changes have placed spatial restrictions on women’s fishing activities, particularly in Ixhuapan, while environmental deterioration has led to a decrease in the fishing species of both communities. Yet women continue to play a key role in river food provisioning and as such, they are important actors in local resource management. This role needs to be acknowledged when designing conservation programs in order to ensure the long-term availability of water resources and to increase women’s control over the ones that they presently manage.

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