Guide to the Women's Maritime Association records
1980-1999

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Overview of the Collection

Creator: Women's Maritime Association
Title: Women's Maritime Association records
Dates: 1980-1999 ( inclusive )
Quantity: .6 linear ft.
Collection Number: XOE_CPNWS0194wma
Summary: The Women’s Maritime Association (WMA) formed in 1980 as a support network for seafaring women. The records consist of administrative and legal records, newsletters, and clippings which span the dates 1980-1999.
Repository: Western Washington University
Heritage Resources

Center for Pacific Northwest Studies
Goltz-Murray Building
808 25th St
Bellingham, WA 98225-9123
Phone: 360 650 7747
Email: heritage.resources@wwu.edu
http://library.wwu.edu/heritageresources

Languages: Collection materials are in English.  
Sponsor: Funding for preparing this finding aid was provided through funds from the Washington State Legislature for the Washington Women's History Consortium. Funding for encoding the finding aid was awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Historical Note

The Women’s Maritime Association (WMA) formed in 1980 as a support network for seafaring women. The WMA’s mission is “to support and encourage women’s activity in their maritime occupations and in their respective maritime unions and to take whatever steps necessary to insure women’s right to work, free of harassment.”* Although based in Seattle, Washington, WMA members hail from across the United States as well as several other countries. The WMA represents and supports women who work on fishing boats, processors, tankers, tugs, research boats, deep sea merchant ships, ferries, Navy and Coast Guard ships.*

Since its inception, the Women’s Maritime Association has sought to promote strong community among women engaged in traditionally male-dominated maritime work, while advocating for fair working conditions, knowledge of health and safety issues and, especially, an end to sexual harassment and discrimination on vessels. With the enactment of the Sexual Abuse Act in 1986, vessel captains were required to report allegations of sexual abuse and harassment to the US Coast Guard. WMA has continued to advocate for stronger legislation to eliminate problems of sexual harassment and abuse at sea. In 1988, the Congressional General Accounting Office (GAO) undertook a two-year study to examine the problems experienced by women working on the high seas. The Women’s Maritime Association urged members who had experienced harassment at sea to write about their experiences and submit those testimonies. The GAO study resulted in two official reports to Congress titled “Coast Guard: Information Needed to Assess the Extent of Sexual Assaults on Ships” and "TUNA/PORPOISE OBSERVER PROGRAM: More Needs to Be Done to Identify and Report Harassment of Observers.” The reports urged the Coast Guard to take action in monitoring harassment onboard ships, and to provide more effective training and better reporting procedure to combat sexual assault.

* Source: Women's Maritime Association website, www.womensmaritimeassoc.com.

Content Description

The Women’s Maritime Association (WMA) records consist of administrative and legal records, newsletters, and clippings which span the dates 1980-1999. The records document the concerns and activities of this Seattle-based organization, established in 1980 to protect the rights and safety of women working in the maritime industries.

Administrative records span the period 1980-1999, and include correspondence between the WMA and affiliated organizations regarding public relations and outreach work. The records also contain membership materials, historical information, materials from the WMA Texas Chapter, and information on affiliated organizations.

Legal records span the dates 1988-1992 and document the WMA's work to strengthen legislation protecting women in the workplace. The records reflect the WMA's mission to eradicate sexual harassment and abuse on ships, and to ensure equal pay and fair working conditions for seafaring women. The materials include the General Accounting Office's 1988 report to Congress regarding sexual harassment at sea.

Newsletters date from 1980-1999 and represent the official publication of the WMA. Newspaper clippings date from the 1980s to the 1990s and document WMA activities, members, and issues related to women in non-traditional jobs and sexual harassment in the workplace. There are also a number of articles about sexual harassment and rape cases on ships throughout the world.

Reference materials consist of publications about WMA activities and some of its members. They also document important issues such as sexual harassment, fair working conditions, and networking and community-building among women in non-traditional jobs.

Use of the Collection

Restrictions on Access :  

Some restrictions apply - contact repository for details.

Preferred Citation :  

Women's Maritime Association records, Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, Heritage Resources, Western Washington University, Bellingham WA 98225-9123.

Administrative Information

Arrangement :

The Women's Maritime Association records are organized according to the following series arrangement:

  • Series I: Adminsitrative records 1980-1999
  • Series II: Legal records 1988-1992
  • Series III: Newsletters 1980-1999
  • Series IV: Clippings 1980s-1990s
  • Series V: Reference materials 1980s-1990s
Acquisition Information :  

The records were donated by the Women's Maritime Assocation in 2000 and again in 2006.

Related Materials :  

The Women in the Commercial Fishing Industry Research collection at the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies contains related material.


Detailed Description of the Collection

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Series I:  Adminsitrative records, 1980-1999
Container(s)
Description
Dates
Box/Folder
1/1 Correspondence and mailings circa 1992-1999
1/2 Historical materials- circa 1980s
1/3 Membership materials circa 1980s
1/4 Publications and materials from affiliated organizations 1989-1993
1/5 Symposia and conventions circa 1990s
1/6 WMA Texas chapter 1994

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Series II:  Legal records, 1988-1992
Container(s)
Description
Dates
Box/Folder
1/7 GAO Report to Congress regarding sexual assault on ships 1988 December
1/8 Sexual abuse / rights at sea materials circa 1988-1992

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Series III:  Women's Maritime Association - WMA official newsletter, 1980-1999
Container(s)
Description
Dates
Box/Folder
1/9 Newsletters 1980 July-1984 December
1/10 Newsletters 1985 January-1989 August
1/11 Newsletters 1989 Winter-1995 March,; 1999 Spring

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Series IV:  Clippings, 1980s-1990s
Container(s)
Description
Dates
Box/Folder
2/1 Newspaper clippings circa 1980s
2/2 Newspaper clippings circa 1990s

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Series V:  Reference materials, 1980s-1990s

Reference materials consist of publications about WMA activities and some of its members. They also document important issues such as sexual harassment, fair working conditions, and networking and community-building among women in non-traditional jobs.

Container(s)
Description
Dates
Box/Folder
2/3 Reference materials circa 1980s
2/4 Reference materials circa 1990s

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Subjects

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the online catalog. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.

  • Corporate Names :
  • Women's Maritime Association--Archives
  • Subject Terms :
  • Sex discrimination against women--History--Sources
  • Sex discrimination in employment--History--Sources
  • Sexual harassment--Law and legislation--United States--History--Sources
  • Women fishers--History--Sources
  • Women merchant mariners--History--Sources
  • Women sailors--History--Sources

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