Women’s perspectives of small-scale fisheries and environmental change in Chilika lagoon, India

This article investigates the gendered implications of environmental change using case studies of two small-scale fishing communities in Chilika lagoon, India. We undertake an intersectional analysis that examines dynamics between groups of fisherwomen in relation to social-ecological change. We focus specifically on (1) fisherwomen’s perspectives about the key drivers of change (e.g., natural disasters and aquaculture) within the social and ecological system of Chilika lagoon; (2) how environmental change is impacting the livelihoods and coping responses of fisherwomen; and (3) how fisherwomen communities are adapting to the ongoing process of change, highlighting in particular the gendered dimensions of out-migration. Our findings demonstrate that fisherwomen’s roles and identities are not static and that the impacts of environmental change vary for different groups of fisherwomen. We find that gender intersects with caste, income, geographic location, age, and household membership to create heterogeneous experiences and knowledge that reflects the complexities associated with gender and environmental change. With specific regard to the increase in fisherwomen out-migrating, we show that responses and adaptations to environmental change have gender-differentiated impacts and challenges. (Full publication)