Unveiling the Marginalized Gender:
Women in Fishery Communities

Traditional architectural spaces were built, with a strict division between the private and public realms which adversely affects the women's lived experience.1 Through the roles, tasks, and spaces that are assigned by the community's cultural habits throughout time, the women's position is marginalized and relegated to a minimal role in society particularly in third world countries like Vietnam. Likewise, there is an unconscious prioritization to allocate the opportunities to men rather than women at the first consideration. Adding to this is the fact that the private sphere conceals the intensity of women's work within the house, further isolating their work and their role in these communities. Because of this the efforts and contribution of women in these communities are largely unseen and underappreciated.2 In the Vietnamese fishing village, women actively play the role to ensure the survival of their families. They primarily do the fish-processing work such as sorting, cutting, and icing together with taking care of bait, setting traps and nets, and keeping the boat clean in a fast-paced environment. While they are housekeepers, they are typically expected to take care of their children and elders, control family finances and interact with buyers as well. Generally, their work is labour-intensive and they act in a helper capacity.

This thesis seeks to respond to this situation through a project that attempts to engage with and celebrate the role that women play in remote fishing village communities in Vietnam through architecture. The project will seek to empower women in the public realm through meaningful and supportive programming and a new visibility that gives them a chance to discover new skills and opportunities to engage with one another and to play more visible roles in their community. I intend to approach this research by attaining a deep understanding of the context, local culture and history, and an exploration of the work women take part in and how this might be celebrated through this project. To do so, this thesis will investigate the daily activities, challenges, and tasks of women, men and children and the places these phenomena occur in the Cai Beo floating fishing village. This thesis study aims to shed a light on gender marginalization in fishery communities in Vietnam and present the unpresented through an architectural proposal.


Fagan, Charlotte C. "Empowerment by Design?: A Case Study of Women Living in New Urbanist Neighborhoods." Macalester College. May 11, 2012. https://digitalcommons.macalester.edu/geography_honors/31.

Grzetic, Brenda. Women Fishes These Days. Halifax: Fernwood publishing, 2004.