The motif of a girl dressing as a man to gain work on a ship is fairly common in sea ballads (for example, in this song and in Jack Monroe). Stan Hugill notes:

The first woman to circumnavigate the globe was a Frenchwoman aboard one of the Bougainville's frigates in his round-the-world voyage in 1766. She was called Jeanne Bare. Other women who dressed as sailors and went to sea - either to follow their sweethearts or husbands, or just to satisfy their love of adventure - were Ann Mills, Anne Chamborlayne, an English girl calling herself Arthur Douglas, an Irish girl Hannah Whitney, and of course the pirates Anne Bonny and Mary Read.