Written By: Karen Hockney, share and reposted from The Islander Magazine
Gender imbalance has long been a hot potato in yachting. It might be disappointing but it’s no great surprise to see that among 30,000 yacht crew looking for jobs, just 28 per cent are female compared to 72 per cent male, according to She of the Sea’s 2021 annual report.
However, did anyone anticipate that female captains in yachting make up just 2 per cent? With the superyacht industry now paying closer attention to diversity and inclusion, focusing on equality and sustainability, the lack of female representation in yachting is further mirrored in the report by the low number of females in chief officer positions (5 per cent) and chief engineer roles (0.5 per cent).
We spoke to three female captains to find out more about what needs to be addressed to attract women to the role of captain and how best to tackle sexism and overcome the hurdles to make it as a female leader in super yachting.
Despite the many challenges, Captains Kelly Gordon, Maria Grazia Franco and Kathy Pennington have made it to the very top of their profession and could not be more inspiring role models to the increasing number of women following in their footsteps. So what exactly needs to be done to change the industry and make it a more welcoming place for women?