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Passionate about encouraging, welcoming and supporting more women into the maritime sector, Solent University and Warsash Maritime School are proud to support International Day for Women in Maritime (18 May).

18th May 2023
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This year’s theme, “Mobilising networks for gender equality”, highlights the importance of collaboration and networking in achieving gender equality in the maritime industry. With this in mind, we asked some of are female maritime academics what networks they found useful, and what they believed could make a real difference in the recruitment and retention of women in the sector.

Claire Hogan is a Lecturer in Cadet Education (Deck) at Warsash Maritime School, specialising in the Navigation subjects. Before entering academia Claire spent over 10 years at Sea before working in the maritime recruitment and personnel industry.

“I find WISTA and Maritime UK Women in Maritime Network great places to network with people and find out more about what is being done across the industry to encourage more women into the sector. It is also inspiring to hear other people’s stories about how their careers have progressed.

“I also run the Warsash Women’s Support Group for female Cadets and newly qualified officers. The group gives them the space to talk, share experiences as a female and hear from leading women in the Maritime industry. It is great being able to help those new to the industry and who are maybe a bit nervous about entering a minority in the Maritime workplace.

“Going forward I believe we should change the narrative. Yes, we should celebrate the wonderful things that women are doing, but no more or less than the men. Let’s find the ally’s and support each other. As a minority our problems will always feel bigger, especially when onboard and away from our home support structure, so find the people you are able to confide in and go to for help.”

Dr Helen Devereux is a Research Fellow in Warsash Maritime School. Her research has focused on various aspects of the organisation of work and employment in the international shipping industry, including workplace health and safety and its management and regulation. Helen completed a PhD at the Seafarers International Research Centre, Cardiff University. In 2022 she was employed by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency as a Policy Lead.

Prior to her academic career Helen was employed by Maersk Tankers as a Deck Officer. Helen has sea time onboard product tankers, container ships, ro-pax ferry and an anchor handling tug supply vessel.

Helen Says: “In many respects I am frustrated by the lack of progress made in increasing the number of women employed in the maritime industry. In some ways it feels that little has changed since I entered the industry 15 years ago.

“I would argue that much more needs to be done to remove the barriers women face in entering the industry, even if these barriers are seen by some as being inconsequential. Things such as looking at gendered language, uniforms which are designed for men and lack of sanitary provisions.

“One of the things I’ve focussed my attention on in the last few years is the issues women seafarers face with personal protective equipment (PPE) and the idea that ‘one size fits all’. I undertook a research project in conjunction with CHIRP and Nautilus International which clearly showed that improvements need to be made with PPE, particularly (but not solely) for women seafarers. Importantly on the back of this research, Nautilus International were able to argue for changes to the Maritime Labour Convention regarding seafarers’ access to appropriately sized PPE.”