Shipping is among one of the few industries which have the lowest women participation. Women form around 40 percent of the total workforce but only 2 percent are working in the maritime industry. There can be many reasons behind it. Let’s try and understand what are the main reasons behind fewer women participation in the Merchant Navy.
Lack of Knowledge and Understanding
A career in the Shipping Industry is full of great opportunities and rewards but not many women have information about it. Unlike other careers like IT, technology, medical, hospitality female students have very little knowledge about career prospects in this sector. Not many school and institutes encourage women to discuss various prospects in the shipping industry.
Male Dominated Sector
People call shipping “a male dominant industry” this is one the main reason behind the fewer women seafarers. There are not many female role models who encourage young female aspirants to pursue a career in the shipping industry. Most of the women heard one thing or another about maritime being a male-dominated world and they have to face many challenges to secure a successful career at sea.
No Motivation or Less Motivation
Women who want to join Merchant Navy industry do not get sufficient support to live their dream. Family and social support are very crucial to establish your identity in any sector and this is where they are lacking. Lack of encouragement makes them feel hesitate to even talk about it. For a successful career in the Shipping Industry, you need to be a leader, a decision maker and since they are not able to take a decision about their career, they are not seen as a successful seafarer.
Lack of Social Cultural and Emotional Barrier
Choosing a career in the Maritime sector requires you to spend months at sea and staying away from family and friends for a long duration. You have to maintain a balance between your work requirements and personal concerns. The myth that women have to be there to take care of family and children has to be changed as it is the biggest reason behind the fewer women involved in the Shipping Industry. The burden of social responsibility stops them from securing a career in the industry.
Work Security and Safety
One of the major concern for both men and women in the shipping industry is that not many companies offer retirement benefits which create doubts among the young Merchant Navy aspirants whether to start a career in the shipping industry or not. Most of the women want to make a career in the industry where they have some job security and other benefits.
Today the role of women in the Maritime industry continues to develop but there is still a lot needs to be done to promote and encourage women to come forward and take leading positions in the Shipping sector.