By MAKUTU MANNEH
In observance of International Women’s Day, this medium was out and about to sample opinion from women on their plight and awareness of the day, and its significance to them.
This reporter visited women fish mongers at Tanji beach, one of the biggest fish landing sites in country, where they make their livelihoods and daily living. The women fish mongers took the opportunity to lament the challenges they face at the beach in order to make ends meet.
According to the women, the high price of fish from the fishermen, makes it very difficult for them to buy large quantities to increase their earnings. They noted that loss of profit due to the high cost of fish, de-motivates customers to buy more in an untidy environment, coupled with poor storage facilities. They added that they are not sometimes able to buy in cash and would resort to taking fish from the fishermen on credit, which ends up in huge losses, because of the price and the lack of good storage facilities to keep the unsold remainder. The women appealed to Government to assist them address this difficult situation they always find themselves in their fish business.
Isatou saidy, a fish monger at Tanji highlighted some of the difficulties they face at the fish landing site such as the tough bargaining negotiation between women and men, when fishing boats anchor; the tough struggle and competition they go through to get good fish from the fishermen, most of whom are foreigners; adequate storage for the unsold remainder of their fish which they sometimes take on credit from these foreign fishermen who do not have sympathy for them, etc.
Saidy said during the process to get fish from anchored boats, most women get injured. “We in most cases get injured due to the push and pull between us and our male counterparts,” Isatou lamented.
Jainaba Dibba a regular fish vendor from Batokunku, said the situation of business at Tanji Fishing Center is difficult to explain; that most times they will travel from their villages and come to Tanji and will not have fish to buy. She added that getting fish is always a big struggle amongst vendors which sometimes leads to conflict and fist fights.
Fatoumata Sey said she has spent thirty-three years selling fish at Taji Fish landing site; that due to the difficulties faced in the fish business, she has started selling vegetables along the line. She noted the fishing industry is her major source of income and for her family as well. Sey said she is a single parent who is taking care of five children, since the demise of her husband
Sey complained that the ice plant which is said to be Government owned, most often lacks ice blocks which is a very vital component in storing their fish.
The women said some of the difficulties they encounter at the fish landing site, is the flood that happens at high tide, when water inundate the fish market due to the high waves, making it difficult for them to conduct their businesses on shore.
International Women’s Day is observed every March 8, as a day set aside to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. This year’s celebration was observed by many individuals and organisations most especially feminist advocating for the rights of women.