A new UK Women in Fisheries network aims to make connections across the board – and get the whole sector communicating more, and in a different way.
‘Women’s contribution to fisheries is valued, whether at the quayside or at the negotiating table, and UK Women in Fisheries network will connect these women, keep them informed, and enable them to have a voice in policy making around fisheries policies,’ said UK Women in Fisheries board member Clare Leverton, commenting that his initiative is intended to recognise and support women working in the UK fisheries sector, wherever that maybe. All women working in the sector are welcome to join, wherever they may be.
UK Women in Fisheries network aims to engage and join together these women, to highlight and support each other, and provide representation and recognition.
Research carried out into the role women play in fisheries and UK fisheries, (Gustavsson, 2020) found that women are crucial to the fishing industry, community and to fishing families, and ‘provide a backbone to the industry’ but also found that ‘women experience issues around pay, abuse and violence, as well as prejudiced and traditional beliefs. There is a lack of adaptation to women’s bodies in the industry and few opportunities for women to start fishing.’
As a result of this body of research, a policy brief was written, and recommended the establishment of an organisation to represent women in fisheries.
‘Women work as female fishermen, in fisheries associations, they are fleet managers, policy makers and charity workers. They are active at all levels within the commercial operations of retail, wholesale and export of fish and fish products,’ UK Women in Fisheries states.
‘They are leading fisheries training centres, they are entrepreneurs in the fishing industry and often play crucial roles as partners of fishers, taking responsibility for administration in addition to having their own income and running the household. If you are involved in fish in any way, the network is for you.’
A key ambition of this new network is to increase the visibility of women’s work in this traditionally male dominated industry.
‘Forming a network and putting women in fisheries in touch with each other, will go some way towards women’s roles in fishing being understood and recognised by the sector. Women will feel confident and have raised aspirations through their membership of the UKWIF.’
Membership is open to all women working in UK fisheries – join up here