Only 1/3 of women worldwide can swim. In many societies, women and girls don’t get equal opportunities to access and get to know and love the ocean.
In 2022 we supported Flossy Barraud and Aminath Zoona (Zuna) in partnership with The Manta Trust in launching ‘Ocean Women’ a multi-year, action-focused research project that aims to empower more women to access the ocean for recreation, with the eventual goal of improving connection to the sea for women and girls worldwide.
In tropical coastal communities like the Maldives – which is 99% ocean – forming a connection to the sea by physically experiencing it can improve women and girls’ interest in ocean conservation, access to careers, economic and social status, and well-being. Research also indicates that women are influential conservation leaders, so barriers to ocean activities can negatively impact conservation efforts.
Fear, societal stigmas, aesthetic ideals, lack of role models and lack of access to equipment can all widen the ocean-gender gap.
The program connects women to the ocean through swim, snorkel and dive training, growing confidence and driving positive change. Outcomes will include livelihood opportunities to help coastal communities develop and lead the conservation initiatives that work for them and future generations.
Later this year, Flossy and Zuna will train ten people on five Maldivian islands as swimming instructors, supporting them in developing programs to teach people to swim and snorkel on their islands for years to come!
This is just the beginning though; for more information, visit mantatrust.org/ocean-women, and for updates, follow @mantatrust and @saltedventuresswimmers on instagram.
Happy World Water Day!