Women and Protected Wrecks

Women and Protected Wrecks

Women and Protected Wrecks: Examining Engagement

The Maritime Archaeology Trust has received a grant from Historic England (HE) to investigate the engagement of women with Protected Wreck (PW) sites and the potential impact this has, and is, having on the understanding and enjoyment of PWs.

The Women and Protected Wrecks project has been inspired by statistics including those from June 2021 (HE):

  • Of the 32 Principal Licensees for Protected Wreck sites only one is female (3%);
  • Of other licences issued, such as visitor licences, of 74 only 8 of these (10%) had been issued to women.

To date, there has not been any detailed consideration of the composition of PW teams and those involved in PWs more widely in terms of gender. There is also a dearth of stories related to women and PW ships and shipping histories.

The project will use a combination of desk-based research, a survey and direct interviews to gather baseline data to better understand how women are and have been, involved with the investigation of PW sites. It will include a brief review of online data on wider maritime archaeological team composition, both professional and avocational to be able to place women and PWs within the wider maritime archaeological context.

The 50th anniversary of the PWA provides a milestone to consider women’s involvement. It will develop important baseline information on which to consider potential reasons why so few women are PW licensees and relatively low numbers are involved in PWs and look to future actions to address this situation. A range of dissemination outputs will raise awareness of the project and showcase women’s stories related to PWs.

If you are interested in stories about women and maritime check out our blog posts:

Women in maritime history

A celebration of women in maritime