Women making history on the James Craig
The theme of International Women’s Day 2018 was #PressforProgress – “a strong call to motivate and unite friends, colleagues and whole communities for gender parity”. In the lead-up to IWD, women involved in the volunteer activities of the James Craig, Sydney’s only original restored 19th-century tall ship, sent out their strong call for gender parity with the first all-female watch in the 144-year history of the ship.
Strong winds on Sunday March 4 provided a great opportunity for the crew to set sails in the harbour with many of the 80 paying passengers joining in the fun. The crew demonstrated their gender parity in terms of leadership, skills and qualifications on board. Forty per cent of the crew on the day were women, and 100 per cent of the main watch were women, ably led by their watch leader Jen Lyle.
One of the ship’s officers, Natalie Moore, often travels from Victoria to join the crew and share her advanced tall ship sailing skills.
From deckhand to officer, sailmaker to engineer, from watch leader to quartermaster the women of the James Craig now have representatives with each of these qualifications in a traditionally male-dominated industry.
Karen Walsh, one of the women on the crew, was elected in 2017 to the board of directors of Sydney Heritage Fleet; the first elected woman director in its 52-year history. She says: “While I’m the one woman on a board of nine, we still have a way to go with representation in governance, but other women who have diverse skill sets and amazing expertise are now inspired to consider nominating for future board roles.”