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!).
Gender and the sea
The subject 'women and the sea' is not only about women seafarers. It's also about gender, and the social systems ashore and st sea that made women's experiences different to those of men in maritime.
Gendered ideas especially impacted when women were more unusual in maritime life than they are today, for example in deck and engine work in the 1970s and on Royal Navy ships in the 1990s.
- Gender means that:
- women seafarers' contribution in the male-dominated sphere has been marginalised, overlooked and misrepresented in records.
- women's tendencies to be emotional literate, affiliative and communicative team-mates have not yet substantially influenced the culture in male-dominated shipboard communities
- seagoing women have experienced far more sexual harassment than women on land. For links to two reports see https://genderedseas.blogspot.com/2021/01/sex-gender-and-us-navy.html
- women have had the opportunity to go to sea as dependents of the seafaring male professionals aboard, and to see shipboard life through different lenses.
Three new films: women in maritime
In Summer 2020 I wrote three scripts about maritime women.These were performed by final year students, working with University of Leeds's Electrifying Women project.
You can see the three-minute films via the Women's Engineering Society website, and celebrate the society's centenary;
- Victoria Drummond: Other ways to Win, about marine engineer Victoria Drummond
- Eily Keary: Connecting Forces, about marine architect Eily Keary
- Peggie Morris: Sewing Machines to Swordfish, about WW2 Wren Mechanic Peggie Malcolmson
Lucy Johnson plays Victoria Drummond.
On location, June 2020
Professor Helen Sampson, Director, Seafarers International Research Centre
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.
- Women's mar hist book: Sena Jeta Naslund, Ahab's Wife, Harper Collins, 2009.
- Women's mar hist film: Now Voyager , 1942, Warner Bros.
- Facebook group - Women in Maritime
Where can you find out more?
Stewardess Julia Andrew sailing on Elder Dempster vessel c 1926. Photo courtesy of Grace Pritchard.
Talks I can offer to a wide range of audiences
- Girls just wanna have fun: Young women and maritime life in 20C: Girls' Nautical Training Corps and Sea Cadets
- Mx Jack Tar: gender, sex, power and seafaring women, from Cutty Sark to Scarlet Lady
- Cross-dressed women cabin-boys and pirate-esses of the 18C and 19C
- Wrens, QARNNS and VADs in the Royal Navy history
Contact me to discuss and sliding-scale fees:
- Stanley J. 2021. 'Rhododendrons and Raids: Dover naval women's daily life and emotions in 1918', in Maritime Kent, eds S Bligh, E Edwards and S Sweetinburgh, Boydell & Brewer, 2021.
- Stanley J. 2020. 'Frocks versus guns: UK seafaring women and queered people sailing the South Atlantic in the 1982 Malvinas/ Falklands conflict', eds Birgit Braasch and Claudia Andrea Müller, Off Shore: Perspectives on Transatlantic Pleasure Travel since the 19th Century, Lit-Verlag, Hamburg, pp61-98.
- Stanley J. 2020. 'Piracy' and 'Adventurers', Women: Our History, ed Lucy Worsley, Dorling Kindersley, London and New York, 2020.
- Stanley J. 2019. 'Eily Keary, first woman marine engineer', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, London.
- Stanley J. 2018. 'Questing for Cuba Cornwallis', in Trafalgar Chronicle, Autumn.
- Stanley, J. 2012 Stanley J. 2012. 'On Buffer-kissers, Bus-station Skanks and Mile-High Clubs: sexualities and transport, in (eds) Peter Norton, Gijs Mom, Liz Millward, Mathieu Flonneau & Thomás Errázuriiz, Mobility in History, The Yearbook of International Association for the History of Transport, Traffic and Mobility, Berghahn, 2012, pp 29-49.
- Stanley J. 2019. 'Frocks versus guns: UK seafaring women and queered people sailing the South Atlantic in the 1982 Malvinas/ Falklands conflict', in Birgit Braasch and Claudia Andrea Müller, eds, Off Shore: Perspectives on Transatlantic Pleasure Travel since the 19th Century, Lit-Verlag, Hamburg.
- Stanley J, 2018. 'Questing for Couba Cornwallis, Nelson's Afro-Caribbean nurse', Trafalgar Chronicle, no 28, London, pp24-33.
- Stanley J. 2012. 'On buffer-kissers, bus-station skanks and mile-high clubs: sexualities and transport', in Peter Norton et al, eds, Mobility in History, The Yearbook of International Association for the History of Transport, Traffic and Mobility, Berghahn, New York, 29-49, http://dx.doi.org/10.3167/mih.2013.040104.
- Stanley J. 2009 'Caring for the poor souls: inter-war seafaring women and their pity for passengers,' chapter in Gayle Letherby and Gillian Reynolds, eds, Gendered Journeys, Mobile Emotions, Ashgate, London, 121-132.
- Stanley J. 2007. 'The Women among the boys' in Robert J Antony, ed, Pirates in the Age of Sail, Norton Casebook in History, WW Norton, New York, 153-166.
- Stanley J. 2007. Entry on women, Oxford Encyclopaedia of Maritime History, Oxford University Press, New York.
- Stanley J. 2004. 'Go east, young woman (but not often): inter-war British India Line stewardesses', in Richard Harding et al, eds, British Ships in China Seas: 1700 to the Present Day, National Museums, Liverpool, 99-112. https://tinyurl.com/go-east-women.
Journal Articles (selected)
- Stanley J. 2020. 'Square Rig and Moonlight,' Marine Quarterly, Winter 2020, pp 96-101.
- Stanley J. 2020. 'A warm stroke from shore to ship: naval homages to Hong Kong's female side-parties,' Port Towns and Urban Cultures , http://porttowns.port.ac.uk/tag/gash-jenny/, April
- Stanley J. 2018. 'Homeward Bound', (re SS Windrush women) in Marine Quarterly, Autumn, pp86-90
- Stanley J. 2017. 'Freeing a man for the fleet/ freeing a woman into engineering life', The Woman Engineer, Winter, vol 19. No 17, p11.
- Stanley J. 2017. '(Actively) moving missing "minorities" from the margins to the main in maritime museums', Topmasts, December, 37-41. https://snr.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Topmasts-special-issue-rev.pdf.
- Stanley J. 2011. 'Ayahs who travelled: Indian nannies voyaging to Britain in the nineteenth century', Black and Asian Studies Association Newsletter, January, 5-8. https://tinyurl.com/ayahsBASA20.
- Stanley J. 2010. 'We were skivvies / We had a ball: Shame and interwar stewardesses, Oral History, 38 (2) (Emotions issue), Autumn, 64-74, http://www.jstor.org/stable/25802191.
- Stanley J. 2009. 'The Trouble with Women Pirates', Her Storia, 1, Feb 2009, 5-13. https://tinyurl.com/trouble-women-pirates.
- Stanley J. 2008. 'Co-venturing consumers "travel back": ships' stewardesses and their female passengers, 1919-1955, Mobilities, 3(3) November), 437-454. https://doi.org/10.1080/17450100802376746
- Stanley J. 2006. 'How did this come to be in stewardess Scheherazade's sea-chest of 'memories'? Exploring the Exceptionalised and Auratic Sea through Inter-War Seawomen's Oral Testimonies', Diegesis: Journal of the Association for Research in Popular Fictions, no. 9, Spring 2006, Narratives of the Sea issue, 24-31, https://tinyurl.com/Diegesis-how-did-this.
Book, conferences and exhibitions reviewed (selected)
- Stanley J. 2020. 'WOW - Women on the Waves (exhibition review) International Journal of Maritime History, Vol 32, no 3, pp743-761.
- Stanley J. 2020. Review of Irini Papanicolopulu et al, 'Gender and the Law of the Sea,' International Journal of Maritime History, Vol 32, issue 2, pp522-4
- Stanley J. 2020. Review of Carole Goldsmith, 'A Wife on the Ocean Wave,' International Journal of Maritime History, Vol 32, issue 4, pp 1026-1028.
- Stanley J. 2016. 'Seawomen of Iceland: Survival on the Edge' by Margaret Willson, Scandinavian Studies, 8 (4),Winter, 470-4, DOI: 10.5406/scanstud.88.4.0470.
- Stanley J. 2014. 'Sex &The Sea, Maritiem Museum Rotterdam', International Journal of Maritime History, June, 26 (2) 378-421, http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0843871414528082
- Stanley J. 2014. 'Women, Travel and Identity: Journeys by rail and sea, 1870-1940' by Emma Robinson-Tomsett, Women's History Review, April, 132-134, DOI: 10.1080/09612025.2014.906836.
- Stanley J. 2013. 'To be a Sailor's Wife'by Hannah Hagmark-Cooper, Women's History Magazine, 71, 40-41. https://tinyurl.com/Alandsailorswives.
- Stanley J. 2008. 'Gender, Emotion, Work and Travel: Women Transport Workers and Passengers, Past and Present', Greenwich Maritime Institute, University of Greenwich, London, June 2007, History Workshop Journal , 65, 277-279, https://doi.org/10.1093/hwj/dbn018.
- Stanley J. 2008. 'Grace Darling: Victorian Heroine,' by Hugh Cunningham, , Women's History Magazine, 58, Spring/Summer, 38.
- Stanley J. 2007. 'The Female Shipwright, Mary Lacy', by Margarette Lincoln, International Journal of Maritime History, Autumn 2009, 405-407, https://doi.org/10.1177/084387140902100146.
- Stanley J. 2007. 'In the Shadow of Freedom: Life on board the oil tanker,' by Mira Karjalainen, International Journal of Maritime History, 19 (2), 473-4, https://doi.org/10.1177/084387140701900245.
- Stanley J. 2006. 'Tourism and the history of traffic, transport and mobility', History Workshop Journal, 61, Spring, 298-9, https://doi.org/10.1093/hwj/dbi072.
- Stanley J. 2006. 'Beyond the Call of Duty: The Loss of British Commonwealth Mercantile and Service Women at Sea during the Second World War, by Brian Crabb, International Journal of Maritime History, 18 (2), 615-617, https://doi.org/10.1177/0843871406018002112.
- Stanley J. 2005. 'The Titanic in Myth and Memory: Representations in Visual and Literary Culture', by Tim Bergfelder and Sarah Street, International Journal of Maritime History, 17 (1), June, 329-30, http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/084387140501700135.
- Stanley J. 2005. 'Women of the Sea' by Edgar Rowe Snow, International Journal of Maritime History, December, 17 (2) 399-400, https://doi.org/10.1177/084387140501700240.
- Stanley J. 2005. 'Quite a Curiosity: The Sea Letters of Grace F. Ladd' by Louise Nichols, Journal for Maritime Research, January, https://tinyurl.com/Grace-F-Ladd.
- Stanley J. 2001. 'Gendering Transport', History Workshop, 51, Spring, 279-80, https://www.academia.edu/35798188/Gendering_transport
- Stanley J. 2001. 'Women at Sea: An Other Category', thematic review, Gender and History, 15 (1), Spring, 135-9. https://www.academia.edu/642992/Women_at_Sea_An_Other_Category.
- Stanley J. 2001. 'Women at Sea: Travel Writing and the Margins of Caribbean Discourse', Lizbeth Paravisini-Gebert and Ivette Romero-Cesaero, International Journal of Maritime History, Winter, 325-27, doi/abs/10.1177/084387140101300174.
- Stanley J. 1998. 'The Captain's a Woman: Tales of a Merchant Mariner' by Deborah Dempsey, International Journal of Maritime History, December 10 (2), 329-331, http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/084387149801000236.