Though traditionally viewed as a “boys’ club” of sorts, fishing as a sport has been drawing more women lately. Recent numbers from the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation suggest that they now account for 37% of anglers in the United States, with many of them taking to the waters for the very first time in 2021.
That’s a huge thing for the sport, and for good reason. Having more women anglers presents a number of unique opportunities, and the community as a whole can only benefit more from their participation.
How does fishing benefit from more female participation?
Creates diversity in the sport
Having more gender equality in sport can never be a bad thing. It breaks down harmful stereotypes while helping to shape the overall attitudes, behaviors, and values within the community.
Increases work opportunities for guides
More people taking to the water creates more work for guides, which can help them during leaner seasons when there isn’t much going on. In this economy, anything that creates more of these opportunities also can’t be a bad thing.
Generates more product sales
Renewed interest from women for fishing and angling can help reinvigorate sales for clothing and gear used in the sport. In some cases, this can be supremely helpful in areas where the economy is struggling.
Women are known for their ability to bring people together and unite communities towards common causes. This is a beneficial kind of energy that fishing and angling desperately needs.
Brings fresh energy to conservation efforts
Women are also known for their nurturing instinct, and possess the ability to emotionally connect with nature much in the same way that they care for their homes, families, friends, and work. The presence of more women anglers creates renewed interest in initiatives to preserve the environment, which will lead to healthier ecosystems and more sustainability in the sport.
Strategies to get more women to the water
Reduce barriers to access
There are plenty of factors that prevent people from getting into fishing on both sides of the bank, so to speak. Gear alone can be costly; however, there often also isn’t as much women’s fishing clothing available in stores than there is for men. Brands like DSG Outerwear are slowly changing that, making women’s fishing clothing such as shirts, bottoms, rain gear, gloves, and accessories available on their site. In addition to having more apparel for women for sale, a robust sharing economy for boats, fuel, and accommodations can prove massively helpful towards drawing more women to the sport.
Promote women-led education
Trying anything for the first time is always easier with a community of like-minded individuals providing support and guidance. Women will be more inclined to try fishing and angling out when they see other women leading classes and providing advice to others. They’ll feel less intimidated to ask questions, and, in turn, will be able to pass on their knowledge to others.
Increase female representation
The vast majority of media related to fishing has traditionally been created and targeted towards men. Fishing as a sport in popular media, publications, advertisements, and in public events such as trade shows and competitions, should create a more balanced portrayal, thus allowing women to see themselves better reflected in them.