Empower women by maintaining an inclusive environment on your vessel.

Today, countries and organizations around the world celebrate World Maritime Day. Under the theme, “Empowering Women in the Maritime Community,” World Maritime Day is an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of gender equality and highlight the contributions of women in the maritime sector. Recognition and support received today will empower many for long-term careers in the maritime industry.

Beyond today’s events, there is more that can be done to empower women in the work place, and we need women and men to pledge a concerted effort for an inclusive industry.

Below are 3 opportunities to create a culture on board your vessel that empowers women and your organization for success.

1. Cultivate a Speak-up Culture

A “speak-up” culture is where all voices are heard and everyone feels welcome to contribute. Cultivating such an environment is crucial to unlocking women’s insights. A study by the Center for Talent Innovation revealed that “leaders who make sure women get equal airtime are 89% more likely than non-inclusive leaders to unleash women’s innovative potential.” Leaders who are open to changing direction based on women’s input are more than twice as likely to tap into winning ideas. Furthermore, leaders who make sure each female member on the team receives both constructive and supportive feedback are 128% more likely to evoke breakthrough ideas.

2. Create Opportunities to Ask

Women often do not ask for what they want or need in the workplace. This is seen at any early age when girls are socialized not to promote their own interests and to focus instead on the needs of others. Messages from parents, teachers, other children, the media, and society are so powerful that it is common for girls to internalize this behavior. As girls grow up, this behavior of not asking continues and many women wait to be recognized and rewarded for working hard. Men, who are taught to ask for more, more ahead in the workplace, faster.  To make matters worse, many cultures penalize women when they ask. Women who pursue their own ambitions and promote their own interests are negatively labeled.

Manager can confront this problem and create opportunities for women to ask for what they want and need in the workplace. They can start by mentoring women they supervise to advise them on the benefits of asking for what they need to do their jobs effectively, in addition to why it is necessary to do so.

For more information about why women do not ask and what you can do about it, listen to the Women Offshore Podcast, Episode 7.  The founder of Women Offshore, Ally Cedeno, interviewed Sara Laschever, author of Women Don’t Ask, The High Cost of Avoiding Negotiation and Positive Strategies for Change. Through fascinating research with Dr Linda Babcock and revealing commentary from hundreds of women, learn why women don’t ask both at home and at work.

3. Recognize Myths that Affect Your Decisions

There are myths about women that are prevalent in society. These myths affect the ways women are treated, hired, promoted, and advanced in the workplace, often holding women back.

The list of myths is long: Women are more emotional than men. Women are not good at math. Women do not make good leaders, captains, or chiefs. Women have less confidence than men. Women will fight with the other women on board. Women are not as committed as men. Women do not want long-term careers at sea. Women with families cannot go to sea…

At Women Offshore, we dispel these myths every year at our annual conference, UNITE, where women from around the world share their sea stories and career achievements. This past year, we even had an unprecedented panel of women who are moms and work at sea.

Question what myths guide your judgement about women in the maritime industry, and look at the profiles on Women Offshore to find that women around the world have long-term careers on the water.

Female “Sparky” in the US Merchant Marine in WWII  

Based on research & phone interview by Sheila Sova   It was a different world for women back in the 1940’s. While men went off to war, women entered the workforce in large numbers to support the war effort. Some went to work at the shipyards, becoming welders and...

Release a Man to Fight at Sea

During WWII, the US Coast Guard created the Women’s Reserve known as the SPARS, an acronym for, "Semper Paratus Always Ready." By December 7th of 1942, the United States was at war and all men between the ages of 21 and 45 were required to register for the draft....

Patricia Varela’s Daring Career as a Geologist

From Caracas, Venezuela, meet geologist Patricia Varela. If you’ve ever thought about the oil and gas industry, you already know that you can’t just go willy-nilly digging holes in the ground. In this regard, Patricia Varela is mission critical in deciding where to...

Protecting Marine Mammals Offshore with Meadhbh Quinn

A zoology student found a career offshore. If you’ve ever seen the show Vikings, you know exactly what Wicklow County, Ireland, looks like, as it was filmed there. Vibrant green hills and valleys give way to crescent bays that welcome the Irish Sea. Its easterly...

Radio Operator Maria Quiteria Rego Thrives Offshore

Radio Operator sounds reductive. Why not call her a "Communications Expert? or an "International Relations Coordinator?" With all the communications Maria Quiteria Rego is responsible for as a radio operator offshore, a more dignified title is necessary. Whatever you...

In the Galley with Chief Cook Melissa McCartney

Melissa McCartney’s passion for the food industry led her to share the culinary arts with others. In 2016, Melissa McCartney was happily working as an instructor and high school recruiter at the Le Cordon Bleu in Miami. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America,...

Rosie the Driller

On a drilling rig in the North Sea, Rosie Hutchins stood in the derrick. The derrick is a tower-like framework that supports the hoisting equipment that raises and lowers drill pipe. Rosie was strapped into a harness on a platform in the derrick called the monkey...

Navigator of the Flying Cloud, Eleanor Creesy

Using the latest scientific data and navigation techniques that most others ignored, Eleanor Creesy broke records on board the Flying Cloud during the Gold Rush. In the 1850’s, American women did not have the rights that they have today; no rights to property, wages...

120 Feet Aloft With Tall Ship Rigger Becca Buckler

Traditional rigging for sailing vessels is not a job for the fainthearted. Besides having to commit hundreds of knots, splices and leather- and woodworking skills to mind and muscle memory, rigging involves fine detail work and intricate knowledge of traditional...

41 Survivors, Captain Susan Orsini Recounts a Rescue at Sea

Nearly one year ago, the USNS Trenton saved the lives of 41 migrants lost at sea. Today, we explore this heroic rescue lead by Captain Susan Orsini. The 338-foot long, USNS Trenton (T-EPF 5) was built at Austral USA’s shipyard in Mobile, Alabama and entered service in...

First in Her Fleet, Captain Lilly Gallo Takes Command

In late 2018, the containership, President FD Roosevelt, sailed across the Pacific Ocean. At her helm, stood the first female captain of one of the most successful maritime companies in the world. The containership, President FD Roosevelt, is known for its hardworking...

On a Rising Tide in the US Coast Guard, Karen Kutkiewicz Makes Waves to Antarctica

In 1976, the United States Coast Guard Academy opened its doors to women. Today, we explore the history of women in the US Coast Guard and one woman's journey to break barriers as a cutterman and mom. On July 8, 1975, Congressman Lester Wolff of New York introduced a...

A Woman of Firsts, Subsea Expert Vicki Corso

In her nearly 40 years in the oil and gas industry, subsea expert Vicki Corso shares how she navigated her career, achieving quite a few firsts as a woman in engineering. It is March 2004 on board the Marco Polo, a tension leg platform, and construction is underway....

A Mate’s First Watch

Each year, mates and engineers graduate from maritime academies, and with new licenses in hand, they join vessels to transit the world. Today, Karin Björk shares what it was like navigating a vessel for the first time as a new officer. Six years ago, Karin Björk from...

Deckhand Ger Tysk Sailing Tall On The Schooner Brilliant

“As for me, I am tormented with an everlasting itch for things remote. I love to sail forbidden seas...” ― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick or, The Whale In 2014, Ger Tysk of Houston. Texas, was recently out of the US Air Force and ready to take on a new career. An avid...

Completion Engineer Aisha Anastasia

From offshore as a completion engineer on an oil well to onshore as a consultant in energy business development, Aisha Anastasia thrives in the oil and gas industry. On board an offshore drilling rig, a well is drilled with the cement and casing in place. Next, a...

Process Operator Dorthe Holmkvist

From an offshore platform in the North Atlantic, Dorthe Holmkvist, a native of Nørresundby, Denmark, shares an important lesson learned. Twenty-four years ago in Nørresundby, Denmark, a local paper advertised opportunities for engineers to work offshore. Dorthe...

ROV Pilot LaRae Davies

From hunting for buried treasure to searching around subsea structures, LaRae Davies has an adventurous career. Since the 1850's, treasure hunters from around the world have sought out the 140-acre, tree covered Oak Island on the south shore of Nova Scotia. The...

Strategic Transformation & Innovations Manager Kristen Levin

From Bossier City, Louisiana, Kristen Levin is the 'Sherlock Holmes of Hydrocarbons,' inspecting vessels to provide solutions in eliminating contaminants. On Kristen Levin's desk in Shreveport, Louisiana, sits a picture of a woman in dirty coveralls and blonde locks...

Commercial Fishing Boat & Yacht Master, Captain Alexia Tisdale

Captain Alexia Tisdale thrives on the water, embracing the challenges while building her resilience. When Alexia Tisdale from Anchorage, Alaska, is not fly fishing off the coast of the Kenai Peninsula, she operates a 30-ton, recreational yacht from Seattle, Washington...

Announcing a NEW Deputy Pilot, Captain Dana Ryan!

We are pleased to announce that there is a new deputy in town! Captain Dana Ryan was the top test taker on the Florida pilot exam for the Port of West Palm Beach! From a young age, Captain Dana Ryan from Jupiter, Florida, wanted to be the captain of her own boat. As a...

Chief Officer Christy Pekara

A chief mate on a container ship, Seattle native Christy Pekara has her eyes set on becoming the first female captain on her vessel. Christy Pekara's love for the water stemmed from her childhood. She grew up in the Cascade Foothills of Washington State, swimming...

Marine Control Room Operator, Second Officer Lucy Faulkner

From diving and fishing off her family's boat to working on an offshore installation, Lucy Faulkner thrives on the water. Guided by her father who taught her safety at sea from a young age, Lucy Faulkner spent her weekends fishing and diving off her family's charter...

Senior Mudlogger Laura McFalls

Working in retail, Laura McFalls longed for a new purpose and career path. Little did she know at the time, a jump into the energy industry would lead her to a life offshore, sometimes hundreds of miles away from land. Laura McFalls, from Reston, Virginia, just...

Deck Cadet Amelia Herrman

Currently a deck cadet at California Maritime Academy, Amelia Herrman is eager to set sail into the workforce to be a maritime pilot. An adventurous career at sea started in high school when Amelia Herrman's mother obtained a job at the Port of Tacoma and ​met a...

How do you support an inclusive culture?

Are you someone who is a leader in the workplace for creating an inclusive environment? How do you create an inclusive culture? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Women Offshore
About The Author: Women Offshore

Women Offshore is an online organization and resource center for a diverse workforce on the water. Its mission is to shine a light on women in operations, provide resources to foster long-term careers, and share the latest efforts on gender diversity and inclusion in the offshore and maritime industries. Contact Women Offshore today: hello@womenoffshore.org

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