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#213675 - 10/24/06 07:20 PM fishing co-op sexist?
Marty Offline
from a friend...

//////////////////////////

The Nothern Fisherman's Cooperative held its
annual general meeting on Caye Caulker yesterday. No
doubt, this very successful cooperative went over
the list of their accomplishments this year, which are
sure to be many. This is a very successful
cooperative by any accounts. The fishing cooperative
was the first of its kind, is still the oldest of its
kind, the largest of its kind and the most successful
of its kind in the entire country. One would be blind
not to notice the economic prosperity the formation of
this cooperative has brough to the tiny island of Caye
Caulker, Belize. Today, there are several branches of
the Northern Fisherman's Cooperative in several parts
of the country.

The founding members of this wildly successfully
cooperative, which was formed in the 1950's on Caye
Caulker, had several strong Caye Caulker women at the
helm as founding members. I cannot remember all the
names right off hand, but in a conversation with the
man who helped form the cooperative so long ago, Mr.
Tony Vega, Sr., he welcomed the women members even in
the 1950's (in an era when the woman's place was still
considered "in the home") because he was of the
opinion that they would work twice as hard as the men
to make the cooperative successful for the simple fact
that they had children to feed.

Today, however, despite its huge success, the Northern
Fisherman's Cooperative is one of the two most gender
discriminatory organizations in the entire country of
Belize (the other being the Catholic Church). Despite
its overwhelming financial successes, this cooperative
should really hang its head in shame at its policies
towards women. Despite its success, it is nothing more
than a woman-bashing, macho man, organization -
obviously one of the ancient dinosaurs that has rolled
over from the last century that still remains in last
century's mode. Considering the fact that the
founding members welcomed women members, one can only
wonder what has gone wrong along the way.

A female friend of mine whose application to become a
member of the cooperative some years ago was turned
down by the cooperative (without an explanation, I
might add), inquired privately as to reasons why.
From inside sources, these were the answers: "Well,
if we allow women members, we will have to change the
name to Northern Fishepeople's Cooperative" and it
will cost money." Then "We only allow male members,
because if we allowed all the women that wanted to
join to join, then with the loans they take out, they
will bankrupt the entire organization." Huh? I was
certainly not sure if we were talking to folks in the
last century or this century.

Since this government has appointed a special
ambassador for gender issues, I would hope that they
would act where they have so far given lip service and
do a thorough investigation into the very
discriminatory practices of the Norther Fisherman's
Cooperative. In fact, I challenge them to take
immediate steps to correct this type of old-fashioned
discrimination against half of our population whose
only sin is to be born with parts other than those of
a man.

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#213676 - 10/24/06 07:21 PM Re: fishing co-op sexist?
Marty Offline
response from another friend

/////////////////////////////
I am surprised that there has been more than one Belizean woman who wants to be in the Coop. The only woman on Caye Caulker I ever saw operate a boat and go fish was Angelica Novelo. Would anyone happen to know who those women might be?
Were there women in the first days who fished in the Coop? When I first built my home there in the 70's only a few adult women even swam in the sea. My older women friends who like to swim often did not bathe in swimsuits.I asked ladies why that was and they said that they themselves simply did not want to swim, fish, or operate boats.
A sign of this was found in the CC crew I took with me to the Rio Dulce a couple of years ago. The would point out in surprise the many Maya women who operate boats down there.
Times have changed now. Is it legal to deny membership in this way? What can be done to correct this?

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#213677 - 10/24/06 07:21 PM Re: fishing co-op sexist?
Marty Offline
another response:
//////////////////////
I think they should allow womenfolk in the fishing
cooperatives but I don't think many would sign up, at least
not from the north. The south is another story.

I know a lady who 10 years ago, originally from Sartaneja,
who could mix it up pretty well with the other "fishermen"/
divers. She ran that skiff like she was at one with the
environment. She was down with the lifestyle. Now, although
still childless at 30, she refuses to go out to dive and
fish. She prefers to stay at camp and watch the novelas and
oversee the cooking as the watchman cooks.

I think the mexican novelas have changed the culture in the
north tremendously, especially amongst the sea fearing
folk.

Haven't done the far south yet, so can't speak to the
current issues there. Missed a big fishing trip to PG last
week due to a bad flu but, PG is in the cards to fish.

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#213678 - 10/25/06 05:49 PM Re: fishing co-op sexist?
Diane Campbell Offline
Local male lore has it that women have eyes that cannot see fish nor coral. No kidding - that was the story I got when I started driving a boat 14 years ago here.
You gotta love it - getting p-o'd is useless!

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#213679 - 10/27/06 02:57 AM Re: fishing co-op sexist?
GailM Offline
guess we need the rest of the story...

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#213680 - 10/27/06 06:08 PM Re: fishing co-op sexist?
Diane Campbell Offline
I guess the rest of the story is that the guys are wrong and I rarely crash into fish.
:-)

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#213681 - 10/27/06 06:35 PM Re: fishing co-op sexist?
ida_y_vuelta Offline
haha!! good point DC!!

besides i thought it was the men who went colour blind?!?! lol... besides, between men and women i don't see much difference other than the obvious...

i love seeing women empower themselves and prove those around them wrong... my thing is that i've got a few interests of my own that used to be male dominated interests and it funny to see how things have changed...

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#213682 - 10/27/06 11:34 PM Re: fishing co-op sexist?
Pedro1 Offline
cannot see anything wrong so far

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#213683 - 10/31/06 07:25 AM Re: fishing co-op sexist?
Laguna Punta Offline
Perhaps the rejection was based on character, not gender. Obviously, all native Corker's know well, each other.
_________________________
Gone fishing!!

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