Women in Boatbuilding was set up in 2021 and has now become a community interest company to help raise the gender diversity debate in the industry

Women in Boatbuilding (WIBB) initially started as a personal Instagram profile to search for other like-minded women.

Founded by Belinda Joslin in 2021, it has developed into a thriving community – inspiring, supporting and helping to raise the gender diversity debate in the industry.

Women in Boatbuilding: A woman drilling into a plan of wood

WIBB plans to offer a mentoring programme. Credit: Women in Boatbuilding

After 18 months of building the community, learning about women in the industry, the challenges they face and discussing what could be done, Women in Boatbuilding has become a community interest company.

Joslin is now joined by three other directors:

  •  Gail McGarva – award-winning heritage clinker boatbuilder and story-teller
  • Amy Stringfellow – boatbuilder, boatbuilding tutor, and Cornwall Marine Skills’ Training and Boatbuild apprenticeship leader
  • Heike Lowenstein – boatbuilder, education consultant, photographer and atlantic rower

Together they are looking to expand the activity and support for women working hands-on in boatbuilding and related industries.

Women in Boatbuilding has been profiling women in the industry through social media, and informally mentoring boatbuilders and women looking to start their careers.

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This year, it is launching an official mentoring scheme, working with the Magenta Project, whose successful sailing mentoring scheme has been running for 5 years, and has helped launch the careers of many professional yachtswomen.

Women in Boatbuilding has also been working with the Boat Building Academy in Lyme Regis, helping them create a strategy to tackle the lack of gender diversity on their boatbuilding courses.

The high-tech skills of Ibe Steedman (right) proved to be invaluable. Credit: Dick Koopmans

WIBB has been profiling women in the industry. Credit: Dick Koopmans

The community interest company is now looking for funding to expand the range of activities – and is currently meeting with industry bodies or companies who would like to support women in their practical careers.

More details on Women in Boatbuilding at: www.womeninboatbuilding.com

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