Friday, 9 January 2015

New articles posted

Want to read my latest articles on women at sea?

1. Seagoing wives, 1950s-today. This is the history of what happened when shipping companies sought to retain skilled staff by allowing officers' wives to sail. As the cartoon shows, seafarers' leave periods were so far apart that it caused family problems.

Wives' advent meant a ship's social life changed, especially on previously all-male tankers. And women learned about seafaring.
Wives adjusted and gave each other tips on how to cope with shipboard life:
~ don't interfere in shipboard politics
~ don't try to match his sleep patterns
~ don't behave like a Butlins red coat
~ take your own iron,coat-hangers and Woman's Own (unless you want to read the guys' Playboys)
~ never, never,have an affair.
Class mattered. First only officers' wives were allowed, then petty officers, and finally ratings, after much negotiation by unions.
Today even same-sex partners may accompany seafarers.

2. Profile of a woman captain of a major cruise ship: Inger Klein Thorhauge of the Queen Elizabeth.
This is based on my phone interview with her. I was delighted to speak to her as she just came in from building a shed in the garden; she stressed how much she liked being ordinary.

These articles were published in the Merchant Navy Officers' union journal, Nautilus International Telegraph in Winter 2014.
You can read to current issue on line at Only members can read back copies on line. But Nautilus International has kindly made available these PDFs of my articles.
To see and download PDFs of them go to

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