Eduardo Leal

Documentary Photographer
   
Azoreans of the Sea
Location: Porto
Nationality: Portuguese
Biography: Eduardo Leal is a Portuguese documentary photographer usually based in Macau, China. Previously he worked for several years in South America. He graduated in Journalism at Escola Superior de Jornalismo (ESJ) and has a Masters in Photojournalism... MORE
Public Story
Azoreans of the Sea
Copyright Eduardo Leal 2022
Date of Work Sep 2020 - Aug 2021
Updated Mar 2022
Location Azores Islands
Topics Documentary, Editorial, Feminism, Fishing, Ocean, Photography, Photojournalism, Women Empowerment, Womens Rights
Summary
In the Azores islands, although women have a great preponderance in the fishing industry, very few venture out to sea. Following what will possibly be the last five fisherwomen working in the archipelago, the project tells us about the struggle and the challenges that these women face socially. It is a work that aims to make their existence known, inspire women who in these and other areas face the same challenges, as well as create a collective memory about the fearless and courageous fisherwomen of the Azores.
The role of women in the Azores fishing industry has always been limited to the support they provide on land, whether in the preparation of troughs, bait and nets or in the logistical work of cleaning and selling fish. 

This work takes place mostly in reserved places such as their homes or garages, where they could reconcile with their real job of being in charge of domestic life since the Azorean society is still very patriarchal. For this reason, and despite having an enormous presence and importance in the industry, it is rare to think of fisherwomen as women of the sea. This vital space for the activity was almost always exclusive to men, as the sea is seen as a place where only the hard, strong and brave work. The idea that women do not belong at sea continues to this day. 

According to the first and only study carried out on fisherwomen in the Azores, carried out by a women's rights association, UMAR-Azores, in 2008, of the 153 women who worked in extractive fishing, only 12 worked at sea. Discrimination, lack of conditions, opportunities and socio-economic problems lead to fewer and fewer women going fishing. Today there are only four, possibly the last Azorean fisherwomen. 

Azorean of the Sea thus seeks to break with the stereotype of the place women occupy in fishing, symbolize the fact that women are able to do all kinds of work and pay homage to the role of these fisherwomen, who face the sea and break social barriers on land.
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