Episode 29 – Fishing for Gender Equity with Dr. Hillary Smith

For this episode of PhDeep, Becca Horan interviews Duke Marine Science and Conservation alumna and current postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Hillary Smith, to learn more about her research on gender equity in small scale fisheries and how she navigated the PhD while becoming a parent, mentoring undergrads, and facing the daunting task of dissertation writing with a buddy. 

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Episode Host

Becca Horan head shot

Becca Horan is a Marine Science and Conservation PhD student in Dr. David Gill’s Ocean Synthesis Lab at Duke University. Becca’s past conservation and development work has brought her from the forests of Madagascar to the agricultural lands of Kenya and Tanzania, as well as the beaches of Martha’s Vineyard and the Philippines. Regardless of the ecosystem, she has most enjoyed working with colleagues and rural community members who have generously shared their wisdom. She hopes to continue working with practitioners during her PhD research to understand how coastal communities, especially women’s fishing organizations, are responding to climate change and inform more just adaptive capacity interventions. A New Englander at heart, Becca has a bachelor’s degree from Connecticut College in Environmental Studies with a certificate from the Goodwin-Niering Center for the Environment.

Twitter: @RHoran_Marine

Featured in this Episode

Hillary Smith head shot

Dr. Hillary Smith conducts research that explores the equity dimensions of common-pool resource governance, environmental policy, and food systems. She received BAs in Geography and Anthropology from the University of Florida in 2009, her MA in Geography from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2014, and her Ph.D. in Marine Science and Conservation at Duke in 2021. Her dissertation research followed the implementation of The Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheriesthe first global policy designed for the small-scale fishing sector. As part of her research, she co-developed a novel mapping methodology used by policymakers in Tanzania to increase the visibility of women’s fisheries organizations and gender dynamics in fish value chains. Now published as a United Nations Handbook and part of the global ‘toolkit’ of policy implementation strategies, she continues to expand the mapping study under an FAO initiative, ‘Empowering Women in Small-Scale Fisheries for Sustainable Food Systems in Sub-Saharan Africa.’ As a Post-Doctoral researcher working with Dr. David Gill and Grant Murray, she applies a food systems lens to understand gender dynamics and equity dimensions of blue food systems. Hillary was recently highlighted as an Innovative Duke Scholar in celebration of International Women’s Day.

Fieldwork highlights

(photo credits – Hillary Smith)

Supplemental material for this episode