On Thursday 20th May, five of the six women sailors taking part in the 9th edition of the Vendée Globe (Clarisse Crémer was unable to attend) accepted the invitation from Annick Billon, Senator for the Vendée and President of the Women's Rights Delegation, and Michel Savin, President of the Study Group on "Sporting practices and major sporting events".
The morning then continued with a plenary hearing broadcast live on the Senate website (see link below). This was an opportunity for the five women sailors to look back on their careers and share their views on various themes, in particular the place of women in the world of professional sailing, both single-handed and crewed, and the commitment to gender equality, a subject particularly dear to our skipper.
"There is a lot to be said for ocean racing and women. But for me, whatever the field, whether it's racing, politics or business, it's always the same thing. I embarked on the Vendée Globe adventure with the desire to assert myself as a woman, with all the challenges that come with being a woman in a man's world. Despite our small size, our results are largely equivalent to those of our male counterparts. In solo sailing, physical strength is one element of performance among many others; there is also strategy, stamina, mental strength... Finding our place in a male environment is a real challenge. And yet, we are capable of doing so, without distorting our femininity, by fully assuming our difference.
Horizon Mixité, the association I chair today, was created in 2012 to promote equality between men and women in all areas of society, with ocean racing as our starting point. Through our actions, we want to inspire women, foster their self-confidence and encourage them to develop their leadership through sailing in mixed crews, involve men at the heart of the movement and educate children, as mentalities are formed and forged from an early age." (Isabelle Joschke)