Being an overwhelmingly and historically male-dominated industry, seafaring presents some unique and systematic challenges for women who may be thinking of pursuing this career. Of the world’s 1.6 million seafarers, 25% are Filipinos, yet only 2% of these Filipino seafarers are women. Moreover, these women are employed in jobs traditionally relegated to women – in the services and domestic sectors (Tangi, 2018).
There are a number of Filipinas who have the right motivation to be seafarers and want to undergo the proper training for it, but are not given equal opportunities for this. . There is a shortfall of awareness and information drives on the bright career prospects marine life can offer women. It is also notable that there is a lack of conducive environment and lack of employment for women who want to make a career at sea. What is disheartening as well is the inadequate support, both from their families and the society, to pursue seafaring as a career. There is still the traditional thinking that women are more vulnerable and too “soft” to be a seafarer.
Today more than ever, it is important to eliminate stereotypes and break the glass ceiling for women seafarers. Chelsea Logistics is at the forefront of making this change happen for women and it is paving the way for a more gender-neutral industry.
Our Mandate on Gender Equality
In Chelsea Logistics, 7% of its 1,540 shipboard personnel are women. We are aware that this is far from equal but our goal is to close the gap and integrate more leadership roles for women in the workforce.
Practicing gender equality ashore and onboard, Chelsea Logistics is one with the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), and organizations like Women in Maritime Philippines (WimaPhil), and Gig and Amazing Sampaguita Foundation, Inc. (GASFI), in upholding the rights of women in the seafaring sector. As testament of its commitment to the Sustainable Development Goal #5 (Gender Equality), Chelsea Logistics launched the first-ever Philippine ship manned by an all-female crew led by Master Licensed Mariner, Capt. Ma. Teresa M. Calderon. This vessel, SuperCat Sprint 1, started its voyage on 14 February 2020, plying Bacolod-Iloilo-Bacolod three times daily.
Through Chelsea Marine Manpower Resources Inc. (CMMRI), Chelsea Logistics’ affiliate and its recruitment arm for sea-based positions, Chelsea Logistics has developed recruitment initiatives which encourage and attract more female workers to the maritime sector. Currently, CMMRI has partnered with maritime schools to effectively disseminate the information that Chelsea Logistics is pushing for change and equality as it sees women to have the same potential and skills as male seafarers. For both male and female seafarers, CMMRI provides monetary support (loan without interest) for training/upgrading courses that require licensure examinations.
Our Message to Women Seafarers
As you celebrate “you” this women’s month, may you find the courage to act on the dream you’ve been chasing. May you reconsider your plans to join the industry you have given up on. To those aspiring women seafarers, listen to your heart’s stirrings and begin your adventure into the open seas. Do not let your fears control you.
Let Chelsea Logistics assist you in navigating a successful career path because we believe that you were not made to stay at the harbor, you were designed to set sail.