The Marine and Fisheries Office of North Sulawesi Province plays an important role in developing the economic potential of marine and fisheries resources in the province. Haidy Malingkas, as the Secretary of Marine and Fisheries Office North Sulawesi, manages financial planning, employees, and general affairs in the marine and fisheries department. Beyond these responsibilities, Haidy also oversees 4 departments and 15 technical implementation units for planning and coordination. She often meets directly with the fishers, processing groups, instructors, and coastal communities. From the meetings, she is able to gather insights to plan future programs that address the needs of the community.
In the 28 years of her career at the Marine and Fisheries Office, Haidy has observed a lot of changes in the office. The biggest change in relation to gender has been an increase in the number of female employees. Many of the leadership positions are also being held by women, and the current head of the Provincial Marine and Fisheries Affairs Office is a woman.
Women’s interest in advancing a career in this field has been growing as well. With more female leaders who are successful in the government such as Susi Pudjiastuti as Indonesia’s former Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries and many other state officials, women can be more inspired. Regulations and encouragement from the government to increase women’s participation in government are also beginning to show results. Compared to 20 years ago when Haidy began her career, she thinks that awareness about women pursuing a career in government has increased.
Haidy, who enjoys going to the field to get to know the community more closely, has also seen changes in the community. In the past, there were a lot of women who were housewives and did not do anything beyond this job, but now many women are taking part in the fisheries sector. When the fishermen get back from fishing, the women are ready to receive the captured fish and process them. Some women are even involved in fishing activities. She thinks that this shift is due to family and community support – many husbands support their wives to work. In North Sulawesi, work opportunities are given to everybody, women or men, based on their abilities and potential.
In the future, Haidy wants to see more women who work just as much as men, “Let’s move forward together and believe in our abilities. As women, we are also able to compete and have the same potential as, or even more than, men. Women and men must work together and help each other for our communities.”
This story is a part of the Indonesian Women in Fisheries campaign, organized by SecondMuse and USAID Oceans and Fisheries Partnership, to increase public awareness of the importance of women’s role in the seafood sector. Seven inspiring women from Bitung, North Sulawesi, Indonesia will be profiled throughout the campaign. Follow #IDwomeninfisheries on Instagram and Twitter to catch all the stories.