“We Fish As One” and Emma Harrison's fight for female friendly fishing!

Neil ofthe nene

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The second best manager I worked for happened to be a lady. Her opinion, having risen to a very senior position in the bank against all the then barriers, was that while there was segregation i.e. separate organisations or in this case competitions for ladies there would always be a perceived disparity. The more it became normal for men and women to be judged side by side as equals the less discrimination there would be. Obvious when you think about it.

But I fully understand the possible reluctance for ladies to compete against a field comprised mainly of men and so a ladies only qualifier for Fisho creates a less intimidating environment hopefully leading to greater participation. In time we should be able to phase out segregation and have a fully integrated sport. Meanwhile if we have to take slightly uncomfortable steps towards that goal then so be it.

Anything that increases participation, diversity and acceptance can only be a positive.

P.S. If anyone (hint @Angling Trust) can get a message to Emma then get her to join this forum. We all know she would be welcome and respected.
 

crackatoa

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I fish some of the same venues as Emma and I've always seen her with a smile on her face. Also, I've never heard a wrong word said to her or about her.
 

Ben Field

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I can’t not say something, but I do find the contents of this thread quite disappointing. I hope that the Angling Trust look in, but I hope that Emma doesn’t subject herself to it.

My girlfriend has summed it up best: “Not seeing it and not recognising it are two totally different things.”

It’s no different to the increased awareness of subconscious racism, and what we, the 99.999% of white, male anglers see as the norm in our world of banter. Yes, we’re (mostly) friendly. Yes, we think we’re welcoming. But with the high proportion of white men, a small but fragile number of women, and zero ethnic diversity suggests that as much as we might be trying or think we’re great, it isn’t working! This poor woman has expressed how she feels, been open enough to explain her history of PTSD and anxiety, explain how she’s (sometimes, not always) made to feel, and all that’s happening here is contempt for the idea and that it can’t possibly be happening. This is NOT about anybody saying women shouldn’t be fishing. This is about the little digs that they’ve all had to put up with. I refer anybody to young Katie Crook’s recent Facebook post titles “**** the haters”. Perhaps consider the fact that it’s possible to be over-welcoming. There can be a fine line between being welcoming and a bit of a sleazy old man. We know that most of us could never ever, ever intend to be this way, but it doesn’t mean it’s not how she or any other lady angler feels in that situation. We’re all used to the digs (after a while) but consider yourself an outsider and to be getting it from day one, just because you’re different. As a white male you roll up at a shop or draw and nobody even looks up. We’re inquisitive beasts and while I’m certain our interest in anybody different is more than often from respect, unless that is expressed it’s not likely how it will come off. She has said how she feels and others back her up. Our mistakes will inevitably be broadly unintentional, but it’s time to wake up and accept that as a mass majority male population, we ARE intimidating.
 

chefster

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I can’t not say something, but I do find the contents of this thread quite disappointing. I hope that the Angling Trust look in, but I hope that Emma doesn’t subject herself to it.

My girlfriend has summed it up best: “Not seeing it and not recognising it are two totally different things.”

It’s no different to the increased awareness of subconscious racism, and what we, the 99.999% of white, male anglers see as the norm in our world of banter. Yes, we’re (mostly) friendly. Yes, we think we’re welcoming. But with the high proportion of white men, a small but fragile number of women, and zero ethnic diversity suggests that as much as we might be trying or think we’re great, it isn’t working! This poor woman has expressed how she feels, been open enough to explain her history of PTSD and anxiety, explain how she’s (sometimes, not always) made to feel, and all that’s happening here is contempt for the idea and that it can’t possibly be happening. This is NOT about anybody saying women shouldn’t be fishing. This is about the little digs that they’ve all had to put up with. I refer anybody to young Katie Crook’s recent Facebook post titles “**** the haters”. Perhaps consider the fact that it’s possible to be over-welcoming. There can be a fine line between being welcoming and a bit of a sleazy old man. We know that most of us could never ever, ever intend to be this way, but it doesn’t mean it’s not how she or any other lady angler feels in that situation. We’re all used to the digs (after a while) but consider yourself an outsider and to be getting it from day one, just because you’re different. As a white male you roll up at a shop or draw and nobody even looks up. We’re inquisitive beasts and while I’m certain our interest in anybody different is more than often from respect, unless that is expressed it’s not likely how it will come off. She has said how she feels and others back her up. Our mistakes will inevitably be broadly unintentional, but it’s time to wake up and accept that as a mass majority male population, we ARE intimidating.
Well how exactly are we supposed to behave towards people, if other than be friendly?💁‍♂️Without fear of upsetting someone, quite honestly it doesn’t seem like anyone can do anything these days without upsetting someone....
 

Ben Field

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Well how exactly are we supposed to behave towards people, if other than be friendly?💁‍♂️Without fear of upsetting someone, quite honestly it doesn’t seem like anyone can do anything these days without upsetting someone....
It’s bloody hard I know. I’m not saying it isn’t. I’m not saying that it’s anything more than a minority. Some people get it (plenty of nice guys out there really open and willing to help) and some people cross a line without knowing. I guess that’s the thing though. Maybe this campaign really will do some good, if it can be given chance to highlight how some people feel without it being dismissed straight away, as is being done here.

Men are just the same. How many would-be match anglers are out there because they feel too intimidated to join in?! LOADS!!!!
 

chefster

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It’s bloody hard I know. I’m not saying it isn’t. I guess that’s the thing though. Maybe this campaign really will do some good, if it can be given chance to highlight how some people feel without it being dismissed straight away, as is being done here.

Men are just the same. How many would-be match anglers are out there because they feel too intimidated to join in?! LOADS!!!!
I agree , when I’ve turned up to an open match on a new venue, I’ve felt intimidated, but that’s more to do with my insecurities than the way I’ve been treated...and I kind of think I’m seeing the same thing with Emma Harrison 💁‍♂️
 

Zerkalo

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Fishing is male dominated unfortunately for whatever reason and a lot of men are proud of their banter. How many times do you hear things like 'wouldn't last a day on our building site with the banter we have'? But it's not the case in all situations, say if you're a low level office clerk, the shoe can be on the other foot and so I fully understand how it can wear someone down. Bullying of any kind I can't stand and I'm always glad to see anyone fishing.
 

Ben Field

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I agree , when I’ve turned up to an open match on a new venue, I’ve felt intimidated, but that’s more to do with my insecurities than the way I’ve been treated...and I kind of think I’m seeing the same thing with Emma Harrison 💁‍♂️
Yeah for sure. All of these things can be completely in our heads. My problems, the next guys problems and the next ladies problems. In a world where everyone can sit along a complete spectrum of problems - from none to loads - it’s just more a current problem of some people not being aware that we don’t all feel the same (which is why it’s a minority who cause a problem - they just don’t get it. I’m not as completely woke as it’s easy to sound these days (far from it in reality), but this argument needs another angle and discussion rather than immediate dismissal by some. It’s hard and it goes against the grain of how angling has been forever, but if we’re going to be welcoming of any people outside of the white male majority, we need to work on it as a whole. So campaigns like this just need to be listened to. Most anglers won’t need to be any different or do anything different, being the nice chaps they already are. But if any of the crass minority actually took notice and learnt something, overall and eventually, it’d be a fairer place where women or any outsider (even male) don’t feel intimidated, whether it’s in their head or not.
 

Maesknoll

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I’m not condoning anyone making her feel uneasy, or not welcome, was it ever thus, as it can be difficult for a solo male in a women’s environment, maybe not so much now, but I know a guy who did his apprenticeship on office equipment, he has been cornered and debagged in a typing pool and subjected to so many lewd suggestions that if it was the other way round, the police could intervene. Now that’s no excuse from either side, match angling is, as Ben says, pretty much male dominated and not youngsters either, so plenty of ingrained ways, that aren’t aligned to the current views of society.
 

Ben Field

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True story: I just had a woman driver deliver a load of lengths of wood and panels at home. Unintentionally I ended up faffing about all over the place trying to be helpful. .....she probably just wanted to be left to do her job as she was more than capable. It’s the way we are, but it doesn’t stop us being a pain sometimes.
 

Dave

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The day I have to start acting like treading on eggshells whilst out fishing is the day I pack it in.

I'm all for equalities but if everyone and every sport has to pamper to the lowest denominator then it will no longer have an appeal for most.

In the main most male anglers respect female anglers and don't bat an eyelid when they fish together. Sometimes it even adds to the challenge, man vs woman, woman vs man. Likewise most men tone down the language to some degree in the presence of a female, but then again I've known some women who put the men to shame in the language department.

It's all about just getting along not worrying if you're saying or doing the right thing.
 

Ben Field

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The day I have to start acting like treading on eggshells whilst out fishing is the day I pack it in.

I'm all for equalities but if everyone and every sport has to pamper to the lowest denominator then it will no longer have an appeal for most.

In the main most male anglers respect female anglers and don't bat an eyelid when they fish together. Sometimes it even adds to the challenge, man vs woman, woman vs man. Likewise most men tone down the language to some degree in the presence of a female, but then again I've known some women who put the men to shame in the language department.

It's all about just getting along not worrying if you're saying or doing the right thing.
I agree Dave. But you’re probably missing the point, like a lot I think are. It’s not likely you or anybody else on this forum who has personally caused offence or a problem, so we don’t need to try and fight back, argue or change. Some people just don’t have an in-built filter, level of empathy or the social skills to realise when their thoughts are on their face, or their mouth and brain haven’t engaged in tandem. Even when they’re convinced they’re being the nicest “most welcoming” guys out there and the problem is the person they’ve offended, not theirs. It’s most likely those types of blokes who need blocking from time to time... not a lot of brain there sometimes. But if you’re a woman who rocks up to a match for the first time, how do you know who’s who? You just have to judge it as you see it and the one who lacks the social skills let’s the side down.
 
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Ben Field

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However, for us to deny that there’s a problem when multiples (of what is already just a few) are saying the same things, is not right either. The solution for anybody who backs the notion of more women fishing (which this thread categorically states that we all do!) is to just BACK THE CAMPAIGN. Don’t dismiss it just because we’re comfortable in our own skin. Others obviously aren’t feeling comfortable in theirs and just acknowledging that will go some way to helping them feel more at ease.
 

Joe C

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😀
Genuine question @Joe C - what's the best way to trim the wife's lockdown fringe when she thrusts a pair of scissors at me and tells me to do it? :D
My main advice is cut off less than you think you need to!
 

R0B

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Probably won't be long before they try to raise the question of ethnic diversity in angling. :(
And why shouldn't they, Peter?

Every national governing body in sport in this country studies participation and membership figures, and instead of preaching to the converted they identify barriers to that participation in order to grow the sport as inclusively as possible. The larger the demographic the stronger the sport, which is kind of important in Angling if you want to address pollution, predation, or a response to any animal rights issues which may flare up like they did in the 80s/90s.
 

G0zzer2

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Well I must be unique in the whole world. I've fished THOUSANDS of matches and have never seen a newcomer not welcomed, nor have I ever heard comments to women like the ones quoted in the AT article.

There's absolutely nothing unusual about women fishing, nor women fishing in matches. And IF there were such comments made to a woman I would expect someone to jump in and tell them off. Match fishermen or fisherwomen are not noted for being timid...they would take action.

As chefster has suggested, intimidation is so often in the mind of the 'victim' of it. PROPER Intimidation is police handcuffing people who are drinking coffee in the street! I have difficulty in believing that the alleged comments were actually made to the person. I hope the Angling Trust has checked as far as they can that the story is correct.
 

Joe C

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I think it’s like a lot of things in life it’s easy to take offence when no real offence is meant. I remember once at Stafford Moor I took part in a match and as we all know sound travels over water really easily when I heard a chap over the other side of the lake say to his mate, “I don’t care where I come but I don’t want to be beaten by that bloody woman!” I thought it was hilarious and no one was more shocked than me that I went on to beat him. He was really embarrassed after the match when he was told that everyone including me heard what he had said. ‘He mean’t no offence and certainly no offence was taken. Let’s not take life too seriously otherwise we’ll never get out of it alive 😂😂😂😂
I’m glad it was water off a ducks back, but this is the minority I was talking about in my previous post. That’s a pretty narrow minded thing to say.
Sounds like the sort of thing that if you pulled them up on it they would say “it’s only banter.”
But actually it’s not funny and reveals a lot about the persons character when they say stuff like this.
 

Peter

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And why shouldn't they, Peter?

Every national governing body in sport in this country studies participation and membership figures, and instead of preaching to the converted they identify barriers to that participation in order to grow the sport as inclusively as possible. The larger the demographic the stronger the sport, which is kind of important in Angling if you want to address pollution, predation, or a response to any animal rights issues which may flare up like they did in the 80s/90s.

But with the high proportion of white men, a small but fragile number of women, and zero ethnic diversity
Ben's comment above about Zero Ethnic Diversity. I can think of numerous anglers that I've fished with over the course of nearly 60 years that have come from any number of ethnic backgrounds, in fact there are a good few on this forum.

For my own part I feel that Angling whether viewed as either a Sport or Hobby has had very few issues with regards to inclusion/diversity over the years and continues to be one of those that is the most accessible to all.
 

Ben Field

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I live in Cornwall, Peter. There’s zero ethnic diversity anywhere, not just fishing. But I don’t see it elsewhere either. A few great Eastern European anglers among us, but I don’t see any of the others. But the fact that angling has had very few “issues” with diversity is that the majority white, male status quo has been unintentionally maintained. What’s true and what is publicly perceived can be two different things, but it’s the general public perception that matters when it comes to recruiting new anglers, or preventing them from trying when they think they’ll be the odd one out. And that huge diversity you see isn’t obviously evident. “Numerous” over 60 years out of hundreds of thousands (?) doesn’t make it inclusive. You remember and make note of them because they stand out as such a rarity.

Again, we ARE welcoming and we’d all be really happy to see anybody from any minority group (including women) joining in, but the proportions as they are don’t reflect that for us. We look like a bunch of middle-age and elderly white men on the whole. Why would you have the confidence to join in if you were a young woman, or from any different background? But we’re such a vast majority... I’m really not denying that it IS accessible to all, but if that’s the perception outside of our circle, I repeat, where the bloody hell are all of the women and anybody else?????? 1 or 2 here and there doesn’t count.

Fishing itself isn’t picky. It’s us, or how we look. We’ve not intentionally created the current situation and it’s one that has come from a change in modern lifestyle as well as a generation change. But we’re a little stuck with it at the mo and it works against us, such is our majority. White men get bashed up these days and we’re fair game. The faster some realise that this isn’t going to change any time soon, the faster it will secure a future for fishing. Again, without wanting to repeat myself, this doesn’t mean that most of us need to do anything at all to change, but those in complete denial, or who misunderstand the problem or point, do.

Anyway, digressing from Emma.

Last I’ll post. I’m not qualified to speak on sexism or racism, but there’s a real lack of empathy out there and I think it’s short sighted and unfair.

With regards to Emma - and this goes back to something earlier when it was suggested that there is no problem and it’s just in her head..... When was there ever a problem for anything, ever, that wasn’t in one party’s head? That’s what problems are. If it exists in somebody’s head, it’s a problem. Just because she thinks and feels the way she does, why should she be hacked down and told there’s no problem. It’s in her head. It’s her. (????). Poor woman.

I’m out.
 
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