Consultant in maritime history and creative lifestory
Women at sea and why they matter
Traditionally, ships are places where women shouldn't be, said some men. But why stop half the population from being mobile in this way? And how can women fulfil their potential by roving and becoming all the things they never even dared to dream of on land.
Exploring women's maritime pasts is what a few historians are doing, such as Margaret Creighton, Lisa Norling, Joan Druett and Suzanne Stark. I've been exploring in this way since the 1980s. Pirates and pursers, dancers and doctors, captains and cooks: I've written and talked about women in most seafaring occupations. (And I'm always impressed. Do I myself fancy seafaring? No, I get too sick!).
Women and the Royal Navy
From Cabin 'Boys' to Captains
Professor Helen Sampson, Director, Seafarers International Research Centre
BOLD IN HER BREECHES
Bold in Her Breeches: Women Pirates Across the Ages (Ed), Pandora 1995, Rivers Oram and Toyoshorin, Japan, 2003
This book succeeds admirably. It is by turns questioning, sceptical, imaginative, personal. The authors reconstruct, suppose, and above all, tell what can be known. It's written with wit and a light touch.
Women who wanted to work at sea faced stiff resistance in the 1970s in the Merchant Navy and in the 1990s in the Royal Navy. It's sometimes still a challenge. Picture courtesy of Sally Fodie.
Proud to have contributed to:
September 2017: The first UK conference on race in maritime history: Race and the Sea. Liverpool JMU
September 2017: Advising on the black women seafarers for the exhibition Black Salt at Merseyside Maritime Museum, the first on race in any UK maritime museum
Summer 2017: Stories of pioneering stewardesses who sailed to West Africa, on the forthcoming website of the Elder Dempster Lines Heritage Archive Project.
Stewardess Julia Andrew sailing on Elder Dempster vessel c 1926. Photo courtesy of Grace Pritchard.