She of the Sea, a small tender in a wider sea of change
With a copy of the gender diversity pledge in hand, Natasha Ambrose, while far right is founder, Jenny Matthews.
She of the Sea founder, Jenny Matthews, said it herself, the mainstream media have not often portrayed the superyacht industry in the best or fairest light. Nonetheless, with some conditions, Matthews and her fellow first officer and She of the Sea advocate, Natasha Ambrose, just delivered their message in The Guardian. Fresh off of her presentation at Superyacht Investor London 2020, Matthews was approached by the national newspaper shortly afterwards. She said The Guardian article is just one in a number of exciting collaborations coming up but that She of the Sea is always on the lookout for more.
Matthews said she had a number of different desired outcomes from talking with The Guardian. “Firstly, a large part of our campaign in to simply raise visibility and awareness of the opportunities for women in our industry and to start the conversation. Secondly, the conversation around diversity and inclusion is in no way exclusive to Yachting, it is a global movement that we are part of, alongside the likes of aviation, commercial maritime, business and law. We are one voice within a chorus and wanted to share the efforts of our industry to embrace the female pool of talent.”
Matthews is determined to celebrate yachting and all its facets and wanted to explore the opportunity for greater coverage in The Guardian despite some concerns regarding the media’s portrayal of the industry as mentioned. “It’s much easier to sell headlines with often inaccurate horror stories. Our industry is not without its flaws, but it is important to remember that the issues are not specific to yachting, they are being addressed in industries all over the world. Yachting is full of talented, passionate, incredible individuals and organisations doing their part to see our industry at its best. We wanted to celebrate that, while exploring this amazing opportunity for growth with a wider audience.”
Awareness raising is crucial to the She of the Sea campaign. Matthews says the feedback she receives is “overwhelmingly positive and very revealing” in the fact that, quite often, it simply hadn’t occurred to people that there was problem requiring solving.
“If we have always only ever been aware of one option, why would we consider any other, unless we become aware of it. That is in its essence all we are doing , addressing unconscious bias and shifting deeply ingrained perceptions. We see this impact especially powerful when people consider the world their children will be growing up in and, of course, wanting their daughters to have the same opportunities as their sons. We find when this process occurs, individuals become highly motivated to use their personal platforms to implement change,” said Matthews.
The She of the Sea campaign has three key messages:
- Our deep understanding of the industry and authenticity has allowed our message and impact to be widely embraced by all sectors. Our dedication and love of our industry combined with the vision of its achieving its highest level of potential, both shoreside and for crew, is the driving force behind our combined efforts and resonates with many people.
- Our message is one of hope and opportunity. It’s not about who does it better, but how we as an industry, are better together. The message is diversity , and although the conversation does involve gender, its core ethos is high performance and competency at all levels. The men in our industry are some of our biggest champions, and by celebrating their part in moving forward, we present a united front for industry-wide action and positive growth.
- The message is universal and has reached critical mass. The question is no longer “ is diversity good?” but “ how can we harness the many proven benefits”. Many industries have been working on diversity and inclusion for years. Yachting although cutting edge in many ways, is arguably a decade behind the rest of the world when it comes to a few important topics. Ironically, this actually plays in our favour now. We can see exactly what the rest of the world has been developing over the years, what has worked, what hasn’t, and the best strategies for implementing fundamental change. With She of the Sea, we have not reinvented the wheel, we have simple adapted many of these proven initiatives to complement our very unique landscape!
She of the Sea is currently sharing its Gender Diversity Pledge in the run up to International Women’s Day. Matthews explained: “We would encourage anyone who is interested in finding out more about the initiative to visit https://www.sheofthesea.com/industrypledge and find out how they can become our industry’s leaders within this global movement.”