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Issue No:41
  • :0973-1156
  • :November
  • :2012

This issue of Yemaya includes articles on women fish processors in Senegal, conditions of fishing communities post civil war and after tsunami in Sri Lanka, women participating in decision-making process in Philippines and how women are turning to farm feed production as livelihood options in India. The edit focuses on the gender issues within the Convention on Biological Diversity. 


Rajashree Bahnji

Under her leadership, the women fish vendors of Versova are today truly a force to reckon with!

By Shuddhawati S Peke (, Researcher, ICSF

Rajashree Bahnji, Chairperson of the Marol Bazaar Koli Mahila Mase Vikreta Sanstha (MBKMMVS), the Koli Women Fish Vendors’ Association of Marol Bazaar, was born into a large fishing family in Versova, Mumbai, in the State of Maharashtra, India. “Twenty years ago, fishing was a profitable business,” she says, “but because it required labour, I had to drop out of school after Class Four to help my family.” Rajashree’s class teacher, convinced of her high ability, came home to plead with her parents to let her continue studying—but the decision had been taken.

“We would wake up at 3 a.m. in the morning,” says Rajashree. “Then a hired lorry would take us to Bhendi Bazaar where we would sell fish until one in the afternoon; come home for lunch and back again to sell fish in the evening bazaar.” Rajashree was married off when she was about 16 or 17. Her husband was also in fisheries. His family was large and shared a common house. It was a challenge to learn to live with so many people. Says Rajashree: “Running a household is no less than running a country.”


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