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Women at Sea

Ship`s hairdresser

Magnifying glassShip`s hairdresser

From being a stewardess or nursery nurse in 1930s to an engineering officer today. The future for women at sea has many more opportunities. 

From dining room to engine room

In this narrative officers and crew members have usually been referred to as `he`. This reflected the real situation at sea. Women at sea worked only as stewardesses, as nurses on ships with large numbers of passengers, and sometimes as cooks, or entertainers on passenger ships. Until quite recently, going to sea as a deck officer or engineer was seen as an exclusively male profession. 

Women in a radio room

Magnifying glassWomen in a radio room

In the last half century, this has changed. The lead may have come from the former Soviet Union, where women often had more freedom to take `male` jobs than in the west, including working at sea. In the UK, the Union-Castle Line began to employ women pursers, giving them the title `purserettes`. The next male preserve to fall to women was the radio officer, although this job has now practically disappeared. Today there is no technical barrier to women becoming deck or engineering officers. Nevertheless, most seafarers are still men, and ships often remain a masculine environment.

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