In my 10-year career span I have learnt that telling people of my capabilities was not enough, I had to just get out there, do the work & show them what I’m capable of. Initially as a cadet I was only one of 3 in a class of 50 & the tutor in charge of the programme was less than supportive towards the females. Crew I worked with would make passing comments or I would hear through the grapevine what certain people thought about females at sea.
I just took it in stride & carried on doing what I was doing trying to be the best I could be to show them I was serious & that it would take more than their snide comments to break me down or make me give up. None of this has stopped me from living out my dream of being a successful seafarer & doing what I love. I have a dream & a whole lot of determination.
I believe everyone should be viewed as human beings, as individuals on an individual basis. I just long for equal rights. We should be judged individually as competent human beings, not as a man or woman who can or can’t do something.
We need to be given a chance to prove ourselves & our capabilities regardless of our gender or nationality for that matter. Allow us the opportunity; put away the antiquated thoughts & opinions of your predecessors & open your minds.
To the seafarers coming behind me, stay strong, hold your head high & keep your eyes on your goal. It won’t always be easy but the tough times will make you stronger in the long run & will provide you with perspective in the future. If you have a dream or passion to be at sea keep working hard & you will get there. Sometimes you might need to take a step sideways to step forward but every little bit of experience counts & you never know when you might need it. Ask questions, find a mentor & better yet an advocate who can help guide you along the way. It helps to have someone to look up too & talk to when times get tough. And never ever compromise your safety. Put yourself first & do not be afraid to stand up for yourself.
Cassie Mead, 3rd Mate.