There’s something about scuba diving that often feels like a largely male sport; particularly in the 1940s and 50s when it was rare for professional divers to be female. Here at Reef-World, there are (currently) more female divers on our team than males - so we love finding out about inspirational women involved in the scuba diving industry.
That’s why we were excited to hear from the team at Sloactive with this roundup of powerful female role models in the diving industry - we hope you enjoy it too!
Female Scuba Diving Role Models
In recent years the scuba diving industry has grown significantly – with dive centres like PADI, offering scuba training and certification courses around the world. With this growth, we have seen an increase in the number of women joining the scuba diving community, however, rewind to the 1940s and the decades that followed, and gender equality was a far cry from what it is today. The majority of professional scuba divers were male, and it was very rare for women divers to be featured in the mainstream media, however, that’s not to say they didn’t exist.
Here are a few of the most influential female role models in scuba diving:
Over the past few decades, there have been some exceptionally powerful female role models who have shown the world that women can scuba too, and their success has undoubtedly played a major role in encouraging other women to enter the sport.
Lotte Baierl Hass
Often referred to as “the first lady of diving”, Charlotte Hildegard Baierl is a remarkable woman who came to fame following a filmmaking expedition with her husband in the Red Sea in the early 1950’s. The film, ‘Under the Red Sea’ won first prize at the Venice Film Festival. Despite receiving offers from Hollywood, Lotte chose to dedicate her career to becoming an underwater photographer and explorer. In 2015, Lotte sadly passed away, however, she’ll always be remembered as one of the first women divers.
Dr. Sylvia Earle
Dr. Sylvia Earle, the marine biologist and diving legend. The first female chief scientist of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and named by Time Magazine as its first Hero for the Planet in 1998, Sylvia is a fantastic role model for women, and is a true inspiration.
Another diving hero, Zale Parry started her diving career in the 1950’s, and went on to set a new deep-diving record for women while testing the Hope-Page non-return valve mouthpiece in open water. She helped to build California’s first civilian hyperbaric chamber, and was the first woman to complete a 300 meter test dive.
Often referred to as The Shark Lady, Eugenie Clark sadly passed away in 2015, however, she was one of the first females to enter the field of scuba diving for research purposes. Eugenie was recognised as a figure of authority in marine biology, specialising in fish behaviour, as well as being a big advocate for marine conservation.
Which women in the scuba diving industry have you been inspired by? Send us a tweet to let us know!