A landmark London exhibition, open until Friday this week, is shining a spotlight on women’s contributions to maritime history.

SHE_SEES, an exhibition that forms part of London International Shipping Week marks the first year of the thought-provoking ‘Rewriting Women into Maritime’ initiative, spearheaded by Lloyd’s Register Foundation Heritage & Education Centre in partnership with Lloyd’s Register and other leading maritime and heritage organisations including Associated British Ports, Historic England, and Royal Museums Greenwich.

The initiative tapped into archive material from across the UK and Ireland to uncover the extensive history of trailblazing female voices in the maritime industry and aimed to change the tide on diversity.

More than just looking into the past, the exhibition highlights a persistent gender imbalance. Recent research from the International Maritime Organization, found that women currently only account for just 29% of the overall industry workforce – a figure that drops to 2% when it comes to female seafarers within the crewing workforce.

Blending striking visuals, art and storytelling, the SHE_SEES exhibition, hosted at the headquarters of the International Maritime Organization, features portraits of inspiring women working in the maritime industry today – from maritime law specialists to ship surveyors. To impactfully bring their stories to life, Lloyd’s Register has worked with portrait photographer and visual artist Emilie Sandy in collaboration with weaver and artist Erna Janine.

Louise Sanger, Head of Research, Interpretation & Engagement – Heritage & Education Centre at Lloyd’s Register Foundation: “We’re thrilled to be bringing our Rewriting Women into Maritime project to life and showcasing our findings with our SHE_SEES exhibition.

“Over the past year, we, along with our partners, have completed extensive research behind the scenes, unearthing archives from across the UK and working with key players in the industry. While there remain things to uncover, one thing is clear – women’s contributions to maritime throughout history have been overlooked for too long, and it’s time to set the record straight.

“Representation matters; how can we inspire young women and girls to consider a career in the maritime industry otherwise? With this exhibition, we hope to bring to life the amazing stories of women within the industry and be a catalyst for diversity, which remains a challenge today.”

The Rewriting Women into Maritime project is set to expand internationally next year.

Learn more about the initiative and read the stories of women in maritime, past and present, here.

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