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Forum Index: DISCUSSION: Dock Talk:
HELP WANTED: WOMEN NEED NOT APPLY
Team McLube

 



The Publisher
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Mar 22, 2011, 12:22 PM

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HELP WANTED: WOMEN NEED NOT APPLY Log-In to Post/Reply

By Elaine Bunting, Yachting World

I think it's great news that the Argo Challenge America's Cup team is planning a campaign combining sailors and athletes with physical disabilities. But the idea that professional sailing is progressive or doffs its cap in any meaningful way to equality is an absolute fantasy.

On the contrary, pro yacht racing is light years behind almost every other business you could think of. It's one of the last remaining corners of the western world where dinosaurs still roam the earth. If disabled sailors get to race in the America's Cup, fantastic. They'll have done a sight better than women.

No-one seems to think it strange or wrong that there are hardly any openings at the top level for women sailors. Indeed, eyes roll if you even raise the issue. Those who think ‘so what?' may forget that we are talking about professional careers here, an area where normal employment practices and laws ought to apply.

Yet opportunities for women to progress in sailing are in scandalously short supply. Only a talented handful can make a name and a living in the specially ring-fenced area of Olympic sailing.

With individual sponsorship an even smaller number have managed to do a solo race such as the Vendee Globe. In this toughest of events women have proved themselves the equal - or better - of male rivals.

But afterwards are they invited to be a part of a top echelon team, a Volvo Ocean Race crew, say, or an America's Cup crew? Not a chance. Even an Olympic Gold Medallist wouldn't get a look in. This isn't a glass ceiling, it's a huge, super-strength carbon flbre watertight bulkhead. -- Read on: http://tinyurl.com/YW-032111


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Mar 22, 2011, 12:23 PM

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Re: [The Publisher] HELP WANTED: WOMEN NEED NOT APPLY [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

By David Barrow:

Oh Dear Elaine seems to be off on one over the equality of the sexes. That could be the start of a reply from a sexist pig who was just against women getting into the sport.

Who knows the answer to the ever changing question of equality - going from getting the vote, to hopefully, in most civilised country's equal pay, to now equal rights on the water in the professional arena of yachting. I have always found that women learn quickly, try harder, are probably in most cases mentally stronger, and generally tone down the men's bum scratching and swearing as an added benefit. So do not think I am a detractor.

Let’s look at the word professional, at the top level the guys are good, very good, and they are fit, train hard, and use their muscle bulk to good effect. There lies the possible problem at that level... strength. It is the same in golf. Women have played in men's competitions at the top level and the only thing they are lacking is the strength to play off the men's tees. I am not sure if one of the few women that have played in top men's events have ever made the cut. This is not sexism; it is purely physiology. I really do not know how you counter that one.

So I guess at the top level of the sport for AC, TP52's, World match racing, etc. the strength issue could be a real problem.

Then we come to the next level of professional sailing, whatever that is; perhaps Elaine knows better than I. They travel the world at the owner’s expense and collect a daily rate. As you say it could possibly be a men's club, but what the entry fee is, and what the qualifications are, who knows? It is a culture that has grown since the 70's and early 80's when we were really happy with just getting a sail, and the only person who was paid was the paid hand who looked after the boat. Goodness knows what so-called professionalism has done to the cost of boat ownership or campaigning over the years. Yes, it is a predominately a men's club, but also I do not know many female owners, and boys will be boys, and in this case it just could be that owners just want a bit of time on their own with the boys.

There are also a few girl boats that do not allow boys on board.

Do you really see them, other than at the really high echelon, as professionals? I think they just like sailing and have found a way to get paid for it. It could be said that getting paid for something you like doing is a great way to go. It could also be said that getting paid for something means that you then have a duty to perform on the day, and that could take the shine off something you love. It also has a relatively short life span, and unless you are right at the top, the longer term financial future is uncertain to say the least, I suspect most women would rather have a proper job and enjoy their sailing; they have more sense than us lot.

Sailing is a hobby for nearly all of us and there are a relative few who are plying their trade as "professional".

The cream will rise to the top such as Ellen MacArthur, Dee Caffari, and Samantha Davies, in world class racing in the toughest events, which might counter my strength issue, a bit, but there has to be a reason for male dominance and in the main it is probably down to sheer physical strength.

Yes there are good women sailors out there and it is fantastic to see the invasion of women at the club and International racing level, and I for one certainly would love to see that continue as the sport would certainly be richer for it.

I came from the same club as Cathy Foster, the Olympic competitor in Los Angeles that won the last race, Caroline Martin Burton Cup winner, and Wendy Hilder top crew to many winners. All of these women were tough competitors that won great respect for what they did on the water; they would not expect or give any quarter and punched their weight in competition. I wonder what they would think of a forced equal opportunities environment. I believe they did think they were equal, as they won at a high competitive level, and beat all of the men in their country on a level playing field all on their own. At the same time, and off the water, they were all charming and feminine which was all the more interesting to see. They were treated and respected as equals both on and off the water. Over the years before they flew off to greater heights I was honoured to have any of them sailing on a boat at Frensham as I knew we would do well, and have a good laugh at the same time.

There are areas where women can thrive in sailing. And I guess that there are still glass ceilings to be broken but I suspect that will happen through sheer skill and determination as the year’s progress, rather than conjuring up a ‘them and us’ environment. Time will tell!




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Mar 23, 2011, 2:40 PM

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Re: [The Publisher] HELP WANTED: WOMEN NEED NOT APPLY [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

From Lou Sandoval, Owner, Karma USA-55367:

I take exception to Elaine Bunting’s “Women Need Not Apply” (Scuttlebutt 3303/YACHTING WORLD Blog 3/21). Mandates and quotas don’t serve to broaden boundaries for the sport of sailing. It is after all, a sport.

Inclusion takes several key components: 1. Pioneers: Individuals willing to go where no one has gone and deliver like they belong there; 2. Champions: Skippers who understand that a sailboat is a microcosm of our real world- a business, a committee or our neighborhoods; 3. Role Models: Individuals such as Olympian and Rolex Yachtswoman of the year- Anna Tunnicliffe, who serve as examples for little girls growing up in the sport. Showing them how that they TOO can achieve (and at very high levels). It’s also important for sailing media to capture and highlight these successes at various levels of the sport.

I am proud that we have been fortunate to have a very good sailor, Christina Cordero-Chadwick, on board our First 36.7-“Karma” for ALL five- Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac Section wins in the past seven years. She is as competent (if not more) than any 200 pound guy on the team and has been a leader since doing her first “Mac” with her dad in her early tweens. She has also been an integral part of our travelling team at North American Championships over the past several years.

Christina didn’t get to being one of the better women sailors by asking for exceptions, rather by showing up and delivering at the best the sport has to offer- in the prestigious Race to Mackinac, she has done it nineteen times (to be exact). Christina is a role-model for my two young daughters. I should be so lucky to have them participate in the sport at that level- some day.

Norm Schultz wrote recently in TRADE ONLY, about expanding the growth of boating by broadening the appeal to ‘non-traditional’ market demographics. We can get bogged down with what that means and how to do it, but it can be as simple as skippers respecting that individuals of different age, gender, ethnicity, persuasion and physical capabilities are able and willing to contribute and being a stand for that.

To do that, we ALL have to look not only beyond the obvious boundaries, but also beyond the not so obvious ones. Growth of a certain demographic doesn’t have to be complicated - it’s as easy as inviting someone that you might not have invited before (perhaps someone that doesn’t look like you) to go sailing… one that happens they’ll be hooked for life and that’s where it starts. The more the merrier!




PaulK
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Mar 23, 2011, 6:58 PM

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Re: [The Publisher] HELP WANTED: WOMEN NEED NOT APPLY [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

Lou makes a valid point, though he may not have written it explicitly: women go where they are appreciated and valued. There are many women on college sailing teams. There are not many women professional sailors. College sailors aren't paid, but they are appreciated and valued. Professional sailors? Are lots of them pulling in 6-figure salaries? If YOU had a choice between making 30% less than a relatively poorly paid guy to run a boat full of the ... scratching types mentioned earlier, (women ARE paid less than men in most jobs) or a job where you knew there was a chance for long-term fulfillment and better pay, surrounded by people you enjoyed being with, which would you choose? A sailing job loses out every time. Trying to attract women for the money in sailing isn't going to work. As Lou has found, women are attracted to sailing because they like to sail and they find people who value their skills and company. Even if it doesn't pay.


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Mar 24, 2011, 8:01 AM

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In Reply To
Lou makes a valid point, though he may not have written it explicitly: women go where they are appreciated and valued. There are many women on college sailing teams. There are not many women professional sailors. College sailors aren't paid, but they are appreciated and valued. Professional sailors? Are lots of them pulling in 6-figure salaries? If YOU had a choice between making 30% less than a relatively poorly paid guy to run a boat full of the ... scratching types mentioned earlier, (women ARE paid less than men in most jobs) or a job where you knew there was a chance for long-term fulfillment and better pay, surrounded by people you enjoyed being with, which would you choose? A sailing job loses out every time. Trying to attract women for the money in sailing isn't going to work. As Lou has found, women are attracted to sailing because they like to sail and they find people who value their skills and company. Even if it doesn't pay.



I think Paul is saying that women are smarter than men. As if we needed the reminder.

- Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt


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Mar 24, 2011, 9:46 AM

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Re: [The Publisher] HELP WANTED: WOMEN NEED NOT APPLY [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

From T.W. White-Henry, Ph.D.
Kyle Yop, on the Yachting World blog, raises an interesting parallel: sexism in science and sailing. Sexism is not obvious; it is both 'subtle and pervasive'.

In the early 70's, the San Francisco Unified School District, under court-ordered desegregation, was forced to re-evaluate school assignments in terms of equity. At the time, Lincoln High School, the City's top school, required girls to score several points higher than boys to be considered for admission!

A recent NYT article noted, "When the Massachusetts Institute of Technology acknowledged 12 years ago that it had discriminated against female professors in “subtle but pervasive” ways, it became a national model for addressing gender inequity.

We are not always conscious of our cultural biases. Sailing is not only about 'brute strength'. What is needed in the sailing community is, first, recognition of the problem of sexism...as Elaine points out in 'WOMEN NEED NOT APPLY. And then, as MIT showed in the science community, a willingness to wholeheartedly address it. That requires generosity of spirit and heart, surely not unknown in our 'corinthian' sport.

For those interested, here are links to MIT/NYT Report/Article...

Gains, and Drawbacks, for Female Professors: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/21/us/21mit.html

A Study on the Status of Women Faculty in Science at MIT: http://web.mit.edu/fnl/women/women.html


Stefan
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Mar 26, 2011, 3:59 PM

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Re: [The Publisher] HELP WANTED: WOMEN NEED NOT APPLY [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply


In Reply To
By Elaine Bunting, Yachting World

But afterwards are they invited to be a part of a top echelon team, a Volvo Ocean Race crew, say, or an America's Cup crew? Not a chance. Even an Olympic Gold Medallist wouldn't get a look in. This isn't a glass ceiling, it's a huge, super-strength carbon flbre watertight bulkhead.


Elaine,

Just as information that there has been all-female crew entry in Volvo Ocean Race four times (to my knowledge I should ad, please correct me if there has been more). First the boat “Maiden” 1989/90, “US Women’s Challenge/Heineken” 1993/04, “EF Education” 1997/98 (then Whitbrad Around The World Race) and another time 2001/02 "Amer Sports Two" after the new event-name Volvo Ocean Race.

On this link there is a women-crew list as to 2008 for Volvo Ocean Race and as you can see there are a few of them. Wink

http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:oO8jCX6naU0J:volvoocean.vo.llnwd.net/o29/u/downloads/0809/history/Women-crew-Whitbread-VolvoOceanRace.pdf+Female+crew+list+A+%E2%80%93+Z+%28as+at+5.9.08%29

OK, still more guys for sure but you are wrong when you claim women hit a glass ceiling at all times.






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