What is a smart and achievable way to grow angling? According to one senior figure, the answer lies in making it easier for women to feel at home in the sport. Stephanie Vatalaro (right) is the Senior Vice-President of Marketing & Communications at the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF) in the USA, and the organisation is now taking steps to encourage more women into fishing.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, women make up almost 51% of the U.S. population. Yet they comprise less than 40% of the nation’s ﬁshing participants. The RBFF has been highlighting the critical role women play in ﬁshing and boating and the foundation’s plan is to connect more deeply with women to support the growth of the sport overall across the country.
Nearly 19.4 million women went fishing in the U.S. in 2021 and 2.8 million more female anglers joined the sport than five years prior. Between 2019 and 2020, 1.8 million new female anglers joined the sport; 1.5 million of them stuck with it in 2021, a testament to fishing’s ongoing appeal. The RBFF says it is imperative for the fishing industry across the globe to support women in fishing in order to see growth in the sport. There are many reasons why women are leading change.
The RBFF launched the Women Making Waves initiative back in 2018 when at the time, only 19% of women saw themselves represented in ﬁshing. Since then, the RBFF has evolved Women Making Waves into a social media movement to increase female representation in ﬁshing and boating.
Creating a community of female anglers helps women interested in ﬁshing and boating see themselves represented in the sport. It makes a support system and allows for women role models in the sport, so that young girls are inspired to hit the water. Said Vatalaro: “This is fantastic news, but to ensure the water is open to everyone and the steady and healthy growth of the sport, we need to continue the movement. Making sure the industry understands the barriers to bringing and keeping women fishing and boating is our next challenge.”
What the research says
● Mothers are more likely to introduce their children to fishing.* 63% of daughters participated in fishing with their mothers, compared to 45% who participated with their fathers.
● They are the decision-makers. Even in a household with two parents working full-time, 54% of mothers do most of the activity planning.
● Women drive 70% to 80% of all consumer purchasing decisions.
● There was a 10% boost in female fishing participation in 2020
*Source: Outdoors Industry Association