Unheard Stories of Women’s Crucial Contributions To Global Shipping Throughout History

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Rewriting Women into Maritime History is a groundbreaking initiative that uses International Women’s Day 2023 to encourage more organisations to investigate their archives and contribute stories about women’s crucial contributions to global shipping throughout history, as reported by LR.

Women involvement 

More than 25 organisations, including Historic England, The Seafarer’s Charity, Maritime Archaeological Trust, Seafarers Hospital Society, Women in Trade and Shipping Association UK (WISTA UK), The Nautical Institute, and many others, have pledged support for the initiative since its September 2022 launch.

The History and Education Centre of the Lloyd’s Register Foundation is in charge of the project, with assistance from the Lloyd’s Register Group. Other organisations with maritime-related archives are being urged to get in touch with the organisers so that their records can be researched and analysed through the lens of women’s involvement in shipping both today and throughout history.

‘She Sees’

The first project concepts will be presented via the “She Sees” project during London International Maritime Week in September 2023. With an innovative visual approach, it will merge historical accounts with tales of modern women working in the marine industry. In order to visually convey the experiences of maritime women through textiles and photography, the storytelling process entails gathering and documenting participant stories as well as co-creating photographs.

One of the main goals of the project is to increase awareness of maritime knowledge, experience, and leadership while empowering women by reshaping the perception of a largely male-dominated business and highlighting the potential to attract more women to the field.

Louise Sanger, Head of Research, Interpretation and Engagement at Lloyd’s Register Foundation said: ‘This is an exciting opportunity for organisations to look into their archive and discover overlooked histories of the vital, but sometimes under-publicised, the role of women in the maritime industry over hundreds of years. It’s a legacy which can still have an impact today, which is why the Rewriting Women into Maritime History project will also share and promote current research on women in the maritime sector.’

Natasha Brown, Head of Public Information Services at the International Maritime Organization said: “Shipping is fundamental for world trade, carrying more than 80% of all goods traded worldwide. The sector is still male-dominated, but past and contemporary stories of women in maritime highlight the abundance of opportunities for greater diversity in the sector.”

Deborah Layde Chief Executive of The Seafarers’ Charity and Chair of the Women in Maritime Network said: “Real-life stories of women in maritime will provide aspirational role models, and allies, for women seeking a career at sea.  As Chair of Maritime UK’s Women In Maritime programme, I understand more work is needed to increase gender balance in shipping:  there are only 24,000+ women seafarers internationally i.e. 1.28% of the workforce (ICS/BIMCO workforce report 2021).  Quite simply more women at sea will improve both the productivity and profitability of maritime, as it has been evidenced in other sectors and workplaces across the globe”.

Sandra Welch, CEO of the Seafarers Hospital Society said: “The Seafarers Hospital Society has a long history of women patrons, employees, charity workers and benefactors committed to the treatment of all seafarers, regardless of race, religion or nationality working in UK waters. Their support and advocacy advanced medical histories for maritime and the world as a whole and we are proud to showcase their stories and contributions to our industry’s history.”

The project, which will last for several years, will initially concentrate on the UK and Ireland in 2023 before expanding to include international partnerships in 2024. On June 30, 2023, the current content call will end.


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Source: LR


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