The American Sailing Association (ASA), in an initiative to encourage more women to be on the water, has launched a women’s education program called “Women Wake Up Zone.” Launching such an initiative, the nonprofit organization believes, would help sailing achieve gender equality and create more women sailors.
“[With] March being designated as Women’s History Month, the world’s largest sailing organization chose March 2019 to embark upon a crusade to bring more women into sailing,” an ASA spokesperson said in a released statement about Women Wake Up Zone.
ASA President Cindy Shabes said men disproportionately outnumber women in sailing.
“When people hear ‘sailing,’ they often think of stuffy, 60-year-old men behind the wheel while women watch,” Shabes said. “Although a recent market research study shows that men outnumber women seven to one as registered boat owners, many of our instructors and high-level instructor evaluators are now women, and many of our schools are now owned or managed by women.”
ASA’s Women Wake Up Zone initiative will offer courses geared toward women. The courses are:
- Raise a Sail
- Save Someone
- Take the Helm
- Tie the Knot
- Work the Winch.
“While this campaign is new, in the future we plan to move to having no special training for women sailors because, with the technological advances, it has truly become a gender-neutral activity,” Shabes said in a released statement. “We just need more women to get involved and spread the word.”
ASA added one in three newly enrolled students in its schools, nationwide, were women. The organization anticipates at least 50 percent of students enrolling in ASA courses in 2020 will be women.
Increasing the numbers of women in the maritime industry (cargo shipping, cruises, ferries, etc.), as a whole, would go a long way go encouraging women to take up sailing, Shabes added.
“More women in the industry will also encourage more women to consider sailing,” Shabes stated.