“Fishing” the sound of it is in itself resonating with a male dominated sport or profession. It is quite evident that fishing has been dictated by men over the centuries. But the world is changing. Like in every other field women are inching in to find their place in the fishing industry. Some of them have even succeeded in their pursuit and have gained popularity through the media through their uncommon ways. We were on a quest to find and bring to you some of the successful fisher-women. A series of research attempts led to the finding of a very few of them. Here we are bringing to you some of the them who we think are among the top four fisher-women of the world showed that they are in deed tougher than men.
1. Madeleine Kulab
Madeleine did not get into fishing with an ardent passion for sport fishing. She was forced into this field owing to the situation she had at home. A disabled father and soaring poverty led her to stop her studies and take to fishing. At the tender age of 13, this girl began to go into the sea to catch fish. Madeleine is the only professional fisher-woman in Gaza and she had to go through a lot of hardships including the shots being fired at her by the Israeli coast guard.
Madeleine continues to help her father with the family profession along with her younger brother and sister. She has resumed her studies and aspires to become a fashion designer in future. The young hands that have gained expertise in pulling the net will some day embroider clothes that tell tales of the sea and life in sea.
2. Sabira Itani
This lady from Beirut has challenged all odds and succeeded in her endeavour. Sabira was married to a fisherman from whom she learned all the secrets of the trade. When he was killed in a boat collision she took up the job of going to the sea and bringing the fish to keep her family going. Sabira, goes out into the sea at 2 am with her 8 kg fishing net. Casts her net and comes back and checks on her net again at 5.30. She says that it sometimes takes upto 10 days to land a fish. She educated all her children and took care of earning the family income. She drives on her own to the Zahrani to sell her fish to the shops and private clients. The local fishermen folk are very supportive of her and she also helps them in transporting and selling their catch at Zahrani.
Sabira has proudly become the one and only professional fisher-woman in the whole of Beirut and continues to inspire many other women.
3. Rebecca Namayanja
Rebecca is another one of the handful women who are shattering the traditionally set rules and taboos that kept women from taking fishing as a profession. This fisherwoman of Uganda is a single mother and her burning desire for success kept her on her path. More than the hard-work involved in pulling and hauling the net the thing that bothered her was the policemen who repeatedly confiscated her net saying she wasn’t allowed to fish. It was complained that Rebecca was using substandard nets that trap young fish. Fishing by a woman was completely prohibited in Uganda those days.
Rebecca realised that every allegation against her was a way to take her off her game and she did not succumb to it and fought harder. Now she is the proud owner of 5 boats and over 25 nets. She has also hired a few men to help her with unloading, cleaning and transporting the catch. She takes great pride in saying “Nothing makes me happy like the feel of employing men”.
4. S. Mahadevi
Lady on an inflated tyre tube in the lake, that is how some people would describe S Mahadevi. This woman who hails from Nathampet village in Tamil Nadu in India is another of those exceptional women who challenged the traditional practices of their native lands and plunged into the male dominated fishing industry. Unlike the other women of her locality, Mahadevi decided to go get her fish on her own than just sell the fish caught by men. She says that it is hard work and requires a lot of stamina. She uses an inflated tyre tube to reach her fishing spot in the lake. She uses her legs to paddle to the desired locations. She also states that she develops blisters and sores due to staying in water for long hours, but puts on a medicated ointment and gets on with what she knows doing best, fishing.