One of the biggest challenges was during my cadetship and having to listen to negative comments from people, mainly discouraging me not to go into the profession because of my gender: I was told I was too young and as a woman that I should think about family life and how life onboard will take that away. I also experienced sexual harassment but unfortunately, as a cadet, you don’t have that much to say, because you’re afraid that it will affect your future before it has even started. But I think that realising and understanding that it is okay to say when something isn’t right or someone is treating you bad is important. We should start talking more openly about what problems that occur onboard so people understand that they’re not alone and they should speak up.
I think that we need to have an open discussion with all genders, ranks and between ship and office what we can do together to change the environment to a place for everybody to be safe and to be themselves onboard. My advice to the next generation of female seafarers is to not be afraid to speak up for yourself and others when something feels wrong.
Sofia is currently as second Officer.