Women In Male-Dominated Boatbuilding Profession


  • Belinda Joslin started an Instagram to connect to more women in the Boatbuilding community.
  • The women talked about how women workforce in this sector are still not considered and the gender disparity that’s been going on.
  • The experiences of many women on how they found their calling in finishing and making boats, despite having distinctive careers before.

Instagram connecting people

Belinda Joslin, 48, living in Ipswich, went looking for work after her children started school and got offered a job as a boat finisher.

She opened an Instagram account in May 2021 called ‘Women in Boatbuilding’ to connect to other incredible and inspiring women who share the same passion as been reported by The Guardian

Gender parity

“As an industry, we are a long way off gender parity. A lot more can be done like lobbying force for equality in boatbuilding as well as a place to showcase and support women in the industry.” Joslin says

Rhythms of a boatyard clatter

“We are working as a crew, with a common aim. All that noise, all that energy runs right through me. I loved the atmosphere and the boats, I’m always moving, always in touch with the wood.”

“At Spirits almost one third of the workforce are women but not all boatyards are as inclusive or supportive, we need modifications, but it doesn’t make us useless or weak.” says Sacha Walker, 53, a former tour manager and music agent.

Conquering all the setbacks

“After my Back injury, it took me years to deal with the physical pain and embark on a physically demanding career. As a woman in the maritime industry you have a lot of pressure on you to prove yourself.”

“Seeing other women on social media doing their own thing gives you something to aim for.” Says Belinda Cree, 28, self-employed Boatbuilder.

Problem solving

Obioma Oji, 43, newly qualified as a boatbuilder, launched a startup making high-end and affordably traditionally built wooden boats.

Which have become sought after for their quality, craftsmanship and sustainability. Each piece of wood is different. You can’t coax it or read it. Problem solving is the one that matters more than Physical strength.

Finding that story

“I’ve always been Drawn to Working boats. They have a strong sense of function, they are robust and beautiful, every boat has a story. You look at the boat and it tells you its past, its job, its shoreline.”

“Even though it’s a Male preserve, I’ve always believed anything is possible. We need more role models for women.” says Gail McGarva, 57, clinker boatbuilding and heritage craft.

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Source:- The guardian