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Researchers who conducted anonymous interviews with 115 female seafarers have compiled a list of the problems most often cited as impediments to pursuing a career in maritime.

The study was conducted by two non-governmental organizations, The Global Maritime Forum and a group that it funds, the All Aboard Alliance, which represents 36 member companies.

The interviewees came from 23 different countries and were employed at all ranks.

The study was conducted as part of a multi-year effort by the All Aboard Alliance to improve living conditions and working conditions for women at sea.

The interviews took place starting at the end of 2022 and continued into the beginning of 2023.

The researchers identified 15 key “pain points,” which fall into four broad categories:

— difficulty for women to succeed professionally at sea;

— challenging social relations onboard;

— employment challenges at sea;

— physical conditions onboard.

“Some of the pain points are already known, but the detailed accounts are very valuable,” said Su Yin Anand, head of Shipping at South32 and co-chair of the All Aboard Alliance.

“We need to make life at sea more inclusive to women seafarers.”

“Now that we have a better understanding of what the pain points are, we can work together to address them.”

“We do not want them to leave their careers at sea because we need them… and we need many more.”

On average, women constitute less than 2 percent of the total seafarer population.

It is important to note that many of the key pain points identified in the study—such as bullying and harassment, feelings of isolation, and long contracts keeping seafarers from their families for many months—are also considered as pain points by many male seafarers.

In the next phase of the project, to be launched in the fourth quarter of 2023, women working aboard selected vessels from within the All Aboard Alliance with higher-than-average numbers of women officers and crewmembers onboard will evaluate the possible impact of proposed solutions.
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