“Empowering Women in the Maritime Community” – English
IMO has chosen this theme for the World Maritime Day on september 26 2019. I’ve been working as a woman in the maritime industry for over 20 years now. Hereby I would like to share my point of view about this subject.
“Women are the leaders of the future. Get two men together and they will fight. Get two women together and they will cooperate.” – Dalai Lama
We need eachother to create a good product/ship, especially in technical complex projects. All parts have to be connected in the right way and run smoothly together. This starts in the heads of the designers and builders. Open cooperation is essential here.
The Maritime World is still mostly populated by men and competition (fighting) is seen as a succesfull and natural activity. However, competition is blocking cooperation, people are afraid to share and be open. For women this is an unnatural way of doing things and can be dissapointing and a reason to work outside the maritime industry.
Men can learn a lot from the cooperation skills of women. This doesn’t mean women should be in the “highest positions” in a top-down organisation or that they have to take over jobs of men . A hierarchical structure is a structure of competition and is getting in the way of cooperation. Women can be of great value in a connecting role in a flat network organisation.
A lot of women in technical jobs try to ‘be one of the guys’ to get a good career, but they shorten themselves and the organisation with this. My message to women is: Be your female self, you are worth more as a woman then as an ‘almost-man’.
To the men: give women some space to fullfill a connecting role and focus less on competition. In this way technique and cooperation can form a whole that has more value then the sum of its parts.