Women in Shipping
A look at #women in the #maritime industry and a tribute to some of the unsung heroes (or heroines) of the #shipping world.
It would be wonderful to see more women choosing to work in seafarers jobs! And if you’re a female considering a career in the maritime industry, but you're worried about a lack of support, there is a silver lining to the cloud of obstacles that may or may not stand in your way. There are an increasing number of organizations dedicated to supporting women in maritime jobs.
Yes shipping is male dominated but we’re no longer living in the 1800's! There are plenty of occupations that were once considered ‘men only’ that, it goes without saying, people of all genders can, and do, excel in: Medicine. Politics. Law. The Military and Armed Forces.
The good news is that the number of women expressing interest in seafarer jobs and a life at sea, and making their dreams of careers in the maritime industry a reality, are growing. There are a number of organizations dedicated to supporting and mentoring women in shipping and shipowners and managers would be doing their business, the future of shipping and prospective female seafarers a service by promoting these wherever possible.
Let's take a look at some of the reasons why potential female seafarers might be shying away from pursuing maritime jobs. 1. The idea that jobs at sea are “only for the boys” Yes, it’s true that the majority of crews are mostly male. Historically, shipping is a male dominated industry and resistance to changing that mentality can run deep.
For a start, schools need to provide career guidance and make young women aware of the exciting future that is available to them in maritime jobs. This could be aided by shipping companies distributing information to institutes of learning to help promote seafaring as a potential career for youngsters, regardless of gender.
We need to improve awareness of the maritime industry. It’s not hard to imagine a teenage girl telling her teacher or school’s career guidance counsellor that she’s interested in seafarer jobs and a life at sea, working onboard a container ship. Only to be met with a blank look and the suggestion that there are plenty of other ‘more suitable’ jobs out there.
We know why women aren’t typically opting for a life at sea: a lack of awareness about careers in shipping being a viable choice for young females, the perception that the shipping sector is a boys only club, an absence of support in some cultures and communities for daughters, sisters and wives who want to become a seafarer.
There are a number of reasons why women aren't choosing seafarer jobs. They range from a lack of support by career officers and schools to inadequate advice for young women considering the idea of a career in the maritime industry to the idea that women ‘don’t’ go into shipping as it’s ‘man’s work’. (Spoiler: it's not!)
Who is supporting women seafarers in jobs at sea? Let’s take a look at the data: the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) has estimated that only 2% of seafaring jobs globally are held by women. Delve a little further into those statistics and it’s thought that a massive 94% of these women are working either on passenger ferries or cruise ships.
It's not exactly breaking news that women are underrepresented in the maritime industry and, specifically, in jobs at sea. And with less young people interested in pursuing a career in the maritime industry, surely the knock on effect is that this disinterest is across the board: That graduates and school leavers of all genders are choosing other professions.