LEADING female anglers are calling for more equality within angling after suffering discrimination.
Sexism was highlighted recently by fishing guide Marina Gibson when she produced a video on the BBC website.
The two-minute 54-second video quickly netted thousands of views, and highlighted prejudice in fishing.
Marina has a huge online following, including 40,000 people on Instagram.
She guides on the River Test in Hampshire, and also runs fly casting lessons in parks in London and North Yorkshire.
Marina revealed how sexism and negative attitudes have affected her personally.
“I’ve had encounters quite a lot online and offline,” she said.
“Once as I was dispatching a fish in a quick and humane way, and a male angler who was also taking fish, started shouting at me and called me sadistic, called me a sadistic woman twice.
“Fishing isn’t just for one type. Fishing is so healthy physically and mentally, I feel I have a duty to spread the love of the sport as I know it can lead to good things,” added Marina.
EA and Sport England tackle sexism
The Environment Agency are trying to get more ladies and girls into fishing, and launched a campaign last year. They are working to combat sexism.
An EA spokesperson said: “One highlight last year was Get Fishing’s connection with ‘This Girl Can’, Sport England’s celebration of active women that aims to inspire women and girls to exercise.
“Angling gained a position alongside football, golf, tennis, rugby, cricket and other well-known sports on the homepage of www.thisgirlcan.co.uk
“As a result, more people learned that fishing can involve a whole range of low, medium and high intensity physical activity and that it’s a great way to de-stress, develop coordination, strength and even a competitive streak.”
Kate Dale, Sport England’s campaign lead, added: “The fantastic thing about angling is that you can take it at so many different levels, so you can really adapt it to be as active as you want.
“We are really happy to support angling at ‘This Girl Can’, it’s a great outdoor activity that is accessible for girls and women of all ages.”
“Prejudiced in many ways,” says carp ace
Top female angler Arezue Wright feels angling has to cut out sexism to get more people to the banks.
Manchester-based Arezue, who set-up the Carpin’ Pink brand, said: “To be honest this has been an ongoing and major issue ever since I first started fishing five years ago.
“To this day there are those who are still undermining everything I do as a female angler and can be prejudiced in many ways.
“Since I started fishing I have received a huge amount of support and encouragement from other anglers and have met so many wonderful people who I now consider as great friends.
“But I have also heard so many comments directed at me which has to this day stayed with me and sadly not for the right reasons.
“Back in 2016 I won an online fishing competition and found that so many were joyous for my achievement and the level of support I received was truly overwhelming.
“However, I would also receive defamatory messages and often come across negative comments which would have a huge impact on my confidence levels.
“One in particular sticks and said ‘It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why you have won, all you have to do is look in the mirror’.
“Unfortunately these comments would not only come from male anglers themselves but other outside audiences. They would say that they were shocked to see how passionate I am about fishing, and that they would never had thought of a less likely candidate for the sport.
“Other comments would go along the lines of the fact that I am so petite and ladylike they could never picture me as a woman who would feel comfortable about getting my hands dirty!
“Whilst I was working as a sales assistant in the tackle industry, male customers would often be dismissive of a female such as myself. These comments would continue daily.
“I appreciate that I may not fit the typical angler stereotype, but I truly hope to see the day that females are represented just as equally as their male counterparts in the world of fishing.
“I hope for the day where we are all seen as one and where there is enough room on the bank for us all and that scathing, sexist and highly critical comments become a distant memory,” concluded Arezue, who recently secured a deal with top carp tackle firm, Sonik.
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