‘Fisherman /ˈfɪʃəmən/ noun
- a person who catches fish for a living or for sport’ (Oxford)
A seemingly straightforward word... and yet it caused some discussion here in the Tearfund office in Teddington when I recently wrote a piece using the term to describe a woman.
Others in the office, who are probably wiser, suggested it was not a very inclusive word and, as with police officer or firefighter, it would be better to find a more gender-appropriate one.
I went with the term ‘fisherwoman’, but my strong-woman-doesn’t-need-special-measures personal opinion was that it refers to a job. A job a woman is certainly capable of. As with the term human, why would I need a different word to do exactly what’s been being done for ages? I figured I could bring all the girlpower ‘wo!’ needed if I ever chose to be a fisherman. Google seemed to turn up similar opinions from women in the fishing industry in some parts of the world... and very strongly opposing views from other parts!
Differing opinions, but the same driving reason. Equality. We are all passionate about seeing women put on an even footing with men. We are not created the same, but we are created equal. It’s one of Tearfund’s main beliefs – that each of us, made in the image of God, should have an equal opportunity to fulfill our God-given potential.
Around the world, educating girls is one of the most powerful tools we have in breaking the cycle of poverty – not only for individuals, but for whole communities. It strengthens economies and it leads to more stable, resilient societies where everyone, regardless of sex, has a greater opportunity to fulfil their potential.
This is the reason Tearfund partners run literacy and training programmes – giving girls and women the power to be economically active is one way of giving them a voice and power in their communities. Rather than telling people that women can be equal, giving women a voice shows them that they are. Not only that, as mothers are strengthened and equipped, they pave the way for their own children, demonstrating new ways of being where, in the past, perhaps local culture may not have encouraged the equality of women.