• The all-female crew of the Maiden
21 Sep | Diversity & Inclusion | Gender Equality | Women in Leadership

The Maiden Factor Sets Sail

The Maiden Factor is a new charity dedicated to giving girls worldwide access to education. The charity was founded by British sailor Tracy Edwards MBE, Captain of The Maiden, the first boat to be sailed around the world by an all-female crew in 1989/90.

They took to the seas in the Whitbread Round the World Race despite scepticism from the racing world, and made history coming home in 2nd place overall in their class. This was the best result for a British boat in 17 years, and still unbeaten to this day. In 1989/90 sponsorship for the Maiden Project came from King Hussein I of Jordan – a huge supporter of Tracy’s vision of an all-female sailing crew. Twenty-seven years later, The Maiden is back home, once again making history in the UK, and about to embark on the new Maiden Factor project!

Today, the project aims to support charities that are working to teach or mentor girls up to the age of 16, who are currently unable to access education. Daughter of the late King Hussein 1, HRH Princess Haya bint Al Hussein clearly shares her father’s views, backing the Maiden Factor. “My father, King Hussein I, would have been the first to offer his support and guidance to the new Maiden Project announced this week. I, as a young girl, fondly remember his ‘hands-on’ involvement with the original project, which made sporting history, and surprisingly feel how the issues of female equality and values he championed all those years ago seem even more relevant today".

Speaking to the BBC about the project in April 2017, Tracy Edwards said, "It's shocking to me that over 61 million girls around the world are still denied one of the most basic rights; access to education. The crew of Maiden faced many obstacles and prejudices. Very few people believed an all-female crew could complete the race. Now we would like to do the same for [future young] women around the world, who are being denied an education and the opportunity to reach their full potential".

The Maiden is set to depart 2pm Saturday 22nd September 2018, sailing to the Needles and then around the Isle of Wight to join the flotilla.

The logo, designed by Taxi Studio, features a symbol of a traditional boat’s steering wheel, which incorporates the female gender symbol. Karl Wills, creative head at Taxi Studio says, “The gender symbol repeats itself around the wheel, which aims to represent 'women coming together'. It’s about empowerment for women, and steering the way in empowering girls through education. But we didn’t want to just speak to women, we wanted a universal mark that encouraged everybody to get on board with this worthy cause”.