Monday, May 21, 2012

Women and Seafaring

Traditionally, seafaring has always been a male-dominated profession - mostly due to ignorance and superstition - but largely due to the sexist belief that women are weaker and inferior. Over the past two decades, the maritime industry has seen a rise in the employment of women as ship's officers. The Philippines itself started deploying female officers in 1997. Although the process has been quite slow (with only a handful of companies open-minded enough to adopt such a program), a few have made it to the management level. I personally know one - she was my junior in the Academy - who was recently promoted to Chief Mate onboard an Oil-Chem Tanker. She reached that position only eight years after graduation - a feat that even male counterparts (and a lot of her seniors) find difficult to achieve in the Tanker industry. The time may yet come when the proverbial "glass-ceiling" will shatter for Filipina seafarers and discrimination against women in the maritime industry may as well become a thing of the past.