For decades, fisherwomen in Demak, Indonesia, have been driving the boat to go to the sea and catch fish. But, they are still undervalued and unacknowledged in comparison with their male counterparts. Their contribution to the fisheries sector and their struggle for survival remain unnoticed.
They have not received the same rights as fishermen. Administratively, fisherwomen can't access social and economic assistance, which can only be accessed by fishermen. Because a coastal community still considers that there are no fisherwomen, there are only fishermen’s wives.
Even though they go to the sea to catch fish, it's only considered accompanying their husbands. As a profession, fisherwomen are not accepted, either by culture, religion, and the state. The way society and government perceive them is patriarchal and discriminative.
To release this shackle, 31 fisherwomen started a movement to fight for legal recognition and equal rights. They had to go through various obstacles, bureaucracy, and patriarchal culture. They are labeled as bad women who oppose patriarchal culture. They also have to go through resistance from policymakers, from local to provincial levels.
In this project, Siti Masudah Isnawati explores the following questions: What are the pressures and challenges faced by fisherwomen when fighting for legal recognition and equal rights in Demak? How did they struggle to remove the stigma and patriarchal culture that binds them?