EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Women in UK Ocean Science: Experiences of female leadership roles at sea

Katharine Hendry1 and the Women in UK Ocean Science*
Katharine Hendry and the Women in UK Ocean Science
  • 1School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, Queen's Road, Bristol, BS8 1RJ, UK (
  • *A full list of authors appears at the end of the abstract

Women experienced significant barriers to fulfilling leadership roles in the earlier years of oceanography and marine science, in common with other scientific fields, especially those that require long expeditions away from ‘home’ and under conditions that were perceived as physically and mentally challenging. However, in recent years more women have become involved in ocean-going science, a trend that has gone hand-in-hand with adjustments in attitudes, opportunities, support during career breaks, and practical logistics on research vessels. Now, in the UK and many other countries, it has become standard to have a strong representation of women on board oceanographic expeditions, including in positions of leadership and on extended expeditions to remote locations.

Here, we have brought together a group of UK-based female oceanographers from different career stages to reflect on experiences of leadership at sea. We will share our positive stories of empowerment, evidence how diversity improves working at sea, and identify ongoing challenges that women face in marine science, and some possible solutions. Our key message is that all roles are now available to women, from chief scientist to technician, and from engineer to captain.

Women in UK Ocean Science:

Katharine Hendry, Amber Annett, Rehemat Bhatia, Sophie Fielding, Yvonne Firing, Eleanor Frajka-Williams, Susan Hartman, Sian Henley, Stephanie Henson, Karen Heywood, Penny Holliday, Joanna Hopkins, Kerry Howell, Veerle Huvenne, Claire Mahaffey, Marie-Jose Messias, Natalie Powney, Carol Robinson, Laura Robinson, Denise Smythe-Wright, and Michelle Taylor

How to cite: Hendry, K. and the Women in UK Ocean Science: Women in UK Ocean Science: Experiences of female leadership roles at sea, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-13751,, 2020


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