International Women's Day: The Warwickshire woman living on a canal boat hoping to inspire others

  • Elizabeth Earle talks about her experience of being a woman living on a canal boat

The Midlands is surrounded by hundreds of miles of canals, with people from a range of backgrounds and cultures living on them.

One of those people is Elizabeth Earle from Warwickshire, who has been living on a narrow boat for six years.

Throughout that time, the 34-year-old has adapted to the lifestyle, yet as a woman still feels like it’s an environment she's underrepresented in.

That's why she plans to tour the country this year, visiting museums and archives, all to find out about women and their place in history on the water.

In an interview with ITV News Central, Elizabeth said: "I'll be talking to people and interviewing them to find out what their way of life would have been like.

"I want to get as close to understanding what the day to day struggles would have been like."

Inside Elizabeth's narrow boat. Credit: Instagram/Elizabeth Earle

Elizabeth was inspired to start her exploration after realising there was a lack of information available about the history of women on the cut, and after her own experiences.

Before moving onto her canal boat full time, Elizabeth was a sailor. Yet, despite her knowledge and skills on the water, she says she has faced stereotyping and misogyny.

Elizabeth said: "Every single women that I met, that lives on a canal boat, has had some sort of misogyny placed at their feet.

"They have had men ask to come inside, or they have been mansplained to.

Before moving onto her canal boat full time, Elizabeth was a sailor. Credit: Instagram/Elizabeth Earle

"After having all of this experience at sea, I met a guy who was on a first lesson of narrow-boating and he was telling me how to tie my line - despite me being a sailor."

She added: "Women are becoming more empowered, more independent.

"The female boating community is very supportive, we all understand what it's like to be constantly undermined or underestimated."

Elizabeth rescued her dog before moving onto her canal boat. Credit: Instagram/Elizabeth Earle

Elizabeth also uses social media as a way to raise awareness and normalise women on the cut.

Collectively, Elizabeth's Instagram and YouTube pages have more than 40,000 followers. She uses them to share her experiences and hopes inspire other women.

She said: "I want to represent the solo female to go out there on the cut.

"Every instance of life solo can be scary.

"But what I want to show that bravery doesn't come from not feeling fear, it comes from doing things in-spite of fear and women deserve their place on the water."