As countries across the world commemorated World Maritime Day on Thursday the president of the Shipping Association of Trinidad and Tobago Garry Dalla Costa, has encouraged women to see the maritime industry as an exciting and rewarding career path.
He said there are equal opportunities for both men and women to be educated and trained in the industry, and he is encouraging young women to consider shipping as a career choice.
Dalla, however, recognised that most women who have chosen this path rarely venture into deeper waters.
The shipping association’s president said the status of women in the industry can be improved significantly.
“Checking with two of our major ports in Trinidad I have found that most women are either in administrative or security positions. There are under one per cent on the waterfront and internationally only two per cent working on vessels. This is certainly room for growth.”
And the head of the Institute of Gender and Development Studies at the University of the West Indies Dr. Gabrielle Hosein said organisations must work assiduously to ensure that there are policies in place that encourage equality in the workplace.
Dr. Hosein said women are not responsible for changing institutional cultures.
She said, “Women bring different approaches and different ways of talking and thinking about sexuality and gender but they don’t introduce gender for the first time. All spaces where women and men are gendered spaces, and if men are dominant there they are gendered in masculine ways in heterosexual ways. That’s when women move into male-dominated spaces they become responsible for making sure they are not too sexualised but it’s not that women are too sexualised. It is that the spaces sexualise women so when you go in regardless of how you are dressed or how you look, or how you behave or how you walk or who you are, you become sexualised and then become responsible for addressing a gendered space that you came into but one which is coded as neutral the whole time because no-one is there saying actually this is affecting me in ways which create inequalities.”