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Women in Marine: The Magenta Project

  • by: Conor McKeon
  • On: 19, Jul 2018
2 min read

The Magenta Project, led by female Volvo Ocean Race sailing champions is driving opportunities for women in the marine industry – here’s how they’re succeeding.

Only 126 women have competed in the Volvo Ocean Race since 1973, including 11 in the first edition. Women have always been underrepresented in the Volvo Ocean Race, which is the longest and toughest professional sporting event in the world and sailing’s toughest team challenge – however, the race organisers are increasing their efforts to attract more female sailors to the competition.

In the 2014-2015 edition, only one all-female team in a fleet of seven boats took on the Volvo Ocean race. Team SCA crossed the finish line first in Leg 8 of the Volvo Ocean Race, making history and sending waves across the sailing world. The female team was the first in 25 years to win a leg and secure third position overall. This victory provided inspiration to fans and female sailors across the globe.

The Magenta Project: Accelerating Women to the Top of Sailing

To continue work on the legacy of women in marine, Team SCA including Abby Ehler, Libby Greenhalgh, Sally Barkow and Annie Lush formed the Magenta Project and quickly grew support. This collective of passionate and committed female athletes argue that sailing is one of the few sports where women can compete directly against men on a level playing field.

The Magenta Project’s message has been heard by key figures at the top of the sport and changes are starting to be made. Female sailors are now able to participate in major events such as the World Match Racing Tour and the Extreme Sailing Series.

However, the Magenta Project’s fight for the legacy of women sailors is still not over, and the Project invites everyone to support their goal of achieving greater equality at the top of sailing. The Magenta Project team aim to empower female sailors to have equal access and opportunities in the sport of sailing.

To put into practice their vision, they realize different activities to drive change in the sailing industry. The Magenta Project is leading opportunities for women in performance sailing through:

  • On-water training
  • Learning and development programmes
  • Sponsoring specific training dedicated to women, as working in the marine industry often mean having skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)
  • Organising events which are used to build networks and relationships that connect individuals and organisations, with the goal of sharing sailing knowledge, experience and opportunities
  • Helping athletes to reach the top of their sport by providing them with sponsors.

Many inspiring female racing sailors are part of the organization – Libby Greenhalgh, one of the four founders, was navigator onboard Team SCA in the 2014-15 edition.

The Magenta Project and its members continue to inspire hundreds of thousands of people around the world and help more women into sailing.

Discover the success of other women in Marine – here’s how Tracy Edwards defied the odds to become a sailing champion.

Read VHR’s white paper on How to Get More Women into Engineering.

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