As an electro technical officer, my day to day responsibilities consist of maintenance of electrical machineries, monitoring & repair of reefer containers, troubleshooting of any electrical or electronic faults on board.
What I love most about my job is the adrenaline rush I get from working on board.It is not the same everyday. Each day I get different challenges due to different circumstances. Watching the most beautiful sunsets and sunrises is another perk of being a sailor.It also allows me to value the time I spend with my family when I am home.
One challenge I have encountered working on board is body shaming. People talk about your body, or joke around about what you can and can not do because of your body. Instead of this I have found really helpful people who really get me and moreover accept me just like everyone else.
As a female seafarer, people sometimes do not see you as a team player even when you try to interact with and work with them with all your efforts, they still see you as different to them. You have to confront them about their biases in order for some of them to actually see you as a member of the team and welcome you into their circles. I’ve also noticed that different people treat you differently, some are more open with their mentality and accept you and offer help and support daily. Some are very stuck in their ways and are not ready to accept women in where used to be a male only industry.
One thing I’d advocate for women is better communication so that others can understand what type of a person you are. Having people in positions of leadership let the whole crew know that equality is highly valued on board and that everyone should be treated with respect. Additional to that, compulsory sanitary towels and tampons and female boiler suits should be available onboard. Ships need to be more accommodating to women.
Pratibha Jain, India