Molly Atkins

molly atkins

Women in Small-scale Fisheries: Tackling Gender Inequality for Livelihoods and Empowerment

Supervisors: Professor Fiona Nunan and Dr Fraser Sugden 

Molly Atkins is undertaking doctoral research on gender inequality in small-scale fisheries, in the Global South. Her research seeks to generate detailed evidence on the lived experiences of women, particularly how women experience constraints on their livelihoods and engagement in fisheries management, and how women respond to these constraints in seeking to secure their livelihoods over time. Through qualitative methodologies and ethnographic approaches, Molly hopes to understand how women in small-scale fisheries cope with experiences of inequality, who they turn to and what strategies they use to improve their lives and those of their households.


Molly previously studied Geography at degree level at the University of Exeter before undertaking a Masters at the University of Sussex’ School of Global Studies. Between her Masters and current PhD project, Molly spent a year working for WorldFish, an international research organization based in Penang, Malaysia. 

Research Interests 

  • Natural resource management
  • Fisheries governance
  • Seafood trade and value chains
  • Gender, power, inequality and equity
  • Political ecology
  • Politics of conservation and resource struggles 


  • MA Environment, Development and Policy, University of Sussex (Distinction)
  • BSc Geography, University of Exeter (First Class Honours)

Other activities 

Molly is a member of a number of research networks, including the Political Ecology Network (POLLEN), the Marine Social Science Network (MarSocSci) and Too Big To Ignore. She is also a contributing author of the (in progress) Illuminating Hidden Harvests global study, led by the FAO, WorldFish and Duke University.


Atkins, M., Byrd, K.A., Pincus, L., Naziri, D. Agboola, J.O. & Yossa, R (2020): Fish, roots, tubers and bananas: opportunities and constraints for agri-food system integration, International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, DOI: 10.1080/14735903.2020.1776815

Fortnam, M., Atkins, M., Brown, K., Chaigneau, T., Frouws, A., Gwaro, K., Huxham, M., Kairo, J., Kimeli, A., Kirui, B. and Sheen, K., 2020. Multiple impact pathways of the 2015–2016 El Nino in coastal Kenya. Ambio, DOI: 10.1007/s13280-020-01321-z

Bradley B, Byrd KA, Atkins M, Isa SI, Akintola SL, Fakoya KA, Ene-Obong H and Thilsted SH. 2020. Fish in food systems in Nigeria: A review. Penang, Malaysia: WorldFish. Program Report: 2020-06.

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