MERMAIDS. (En)Gendering Maritime Labour and Business Histories

Online International Conference

University of Ljubljana 9-10-11 February 2022

©Alison Headley - Tempest, 2017
©Alison Headley – Tempest, 2017

The aim of the conference is to highlight the modalities through which gender norms shaped or influenced labour market participation, and business and labour cultures in the maritime sector and wider industries and services in European port/emporium cities and maritime communities in Modern times (the nineteenth and twentieth centuries).

While gender approaches have begun to penetrate maritime history in the last few decades in an increasingly significant way, further work must be done in order to create a more gender inclusive, composite and fruitful history of labour and business in the maritime industry.

As for women’s labour market participation and business activities in the maritime sector, we know that one does not need to go to the sea to be part of maritime workforce. For women, work, career and entrepreneurial opportunities in the maritime industry included roles such as moneylender, ship-owner, fisherwomen, fishmongers and workers in the fish processing factories, journey[wo]man at the port or ship yards and, last but not least, sex workers.

It is also important to consider aspects relating to domesticity, and to the variations in the distribution of power between genders – within the family and in other socio-economic contexts – in maritime environments. In Mediterranean port/emporium cities, as in Early Modern and Modern times, women were entrusted with weaving the socio, economic, cultural – and even political – relational fabric that their men would “wear” to act in the public arena.

The workshop will be held on 9-10-11 February via Zoom (link:; ID Zoom: 979 7772 4427). Registration is not required.

The event is open to the public.

The conference is organized in the framework of the MSCA-IF Project 2019 “We Can Do It! Women’s labour market participation in the maritime sector in the Upper Adriatic after the World Wars in an intersectional perspective” (acronym: WeCanIt; grant agreement no. 894257).   




Speakers bio profiles