Feminism And Ocean Governance In The Arctic

by Sabrina Heerema | Published: 03-Oct-22 | Last updated: 19-Sep-22 | Tags : Arctic feminism | category: NEWS

Arctic PASSION's Dr. Tahnee Prior was the guest speaker on episode 6 of the Fishy Feminist Podcast, a bi-monthly podcast that shares the stories of the amazing people and projects that take on fisheries, ocean and watery places with a feminist lens.

In the 41 minute episode, Tahnee discusses her interdisciplinary work at the intersection of gender and Arctic environmental governance, including her engagement with Arctic and Indigenous feminist scholars.  

Tahnee is an interdisciplinary scholar of Arctic governance. Her research focuses on how institutional design can help or hinder the ability of society to adapt to rapidly changing environments, like the Arctic. She approaches this research from multiple perspectives including global governance, international legal theory, indigenous people's rights, and gender. She is currently a Killam Postdoctoral Fellow at the Marine & Environmental Law Institute at the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada. Working with Dr. Sara Seck, she is examining the intersection of gender and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Specifically, how UNCLOS, the fundamental international framework for governing all oceans in the Arctic, as well as one of the implementation mechanisms identified by Sustainable Development Goal 14, applies to Arctic Indigenous and non-Indigenous women who engage with the changing Arctic ocean. 

In this episode, Tahnee discusses her journey with feminism and how she attempts to apply it to her work. She argues that, although conversations around gender equality have been increasingly integrated into Arctic research and the broader event circuit, some key governing mechanisms in the Arctic, such as the UNCLOS, remain nebulous when it comes to their application to people including women, Indigenous peoples, and the intersection thereof. A greater understanding its application, she argues, is crucial as most Arctic states have committed to implementing Sustainable Development Goals 5 (on gender equality) and 14 (on life below water).    

Together with Gosia Smieszek, Tahnee has also founded and co-leads Women of Arctic, a non-profit association based in Finland that seeks to raise awareness, support, and maintain a focus on women’s and gender-related issues in the Arctic. WoA is currently a partner in Arctic PASSION. Previously, Tahnee and Gosia  were commissioned by Finland’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MFA) to write the chapter on Gender & Environment in the Arctic for the first-ever Pan-Arctic report on gender quality.

You can follow Tahnee's work at www.tahnee.is and www.genderisnotplanb.com.