15 key pain points for women at sea

This report shares the results from a study conducted by the All Aboard Alliance in the Diversity@Sea initiative, where 15 key pain points – or challenges – for women at sea were identified. These key pain points resulted from an analysis of interviews with 115 women seafarers from all ranks and geographies serving onboard vessels from across the global maritime industry.

April 27 2023

The 15 key pain points fall into four different categories:

The difficulty of succeeding professionally at sea for women (i.e., being perceived as less competent than male coworkers, not having equal access to training or tasks onboard, and having to outperform male peers to get respected or promoted).

Social relations onboard can be especially challenging for women at sea (i.e., feeling isolated or unsupported because of their gender, the concern of gossip or rumours, or power abuse or sexual harassment and sexual misconduct onboard).

Systemic employment challenges at sea (i.e., service contracts at sea being too long, lack of family planning options such as maternity leave or sea-shore rotation programmes, resulting in many women having to choose between a career at sea OR starting a family, in turn pushing women seafarers to find employment elsewhere, and finally, many companies still not willing to recruit women seafarers).

Physical conditions onboard (i.e., lack of access to female sanitary products onboard or lack of access to adequately fitted Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as boiler suites, fire gloves etc., or lack of access to designated women’s changing rooms, bathrooms, etc. onboard).

The goal of this report is to create better transparency and help spread awareness of the major challenges experienced by women at sea and that many will join us on our mission to identify adequate and sustainable solutions for each of the 15 critical pain points. A career at sea must be more inclusive to become attractive to women seafarers and everyone interested in pursuing a career at sea.

Read the Diversty@Sea report no. 1, 15 key pain points for women at sea here.

The views expressed in this Insight are those of the author alone and not necessarily those of the Global Maritime Forum. Excerpts may be published with reference to the Global Maritime Forum.