Shipping is one of those industries which have the lowest number of women in the workforce. An inadequate number of female seafarers clearly shows that very little has been done to encourage women in taking up seafaring careers. The scene is not much better in Greece, which has been a maritime nation since ancient times. It is only now that a woman, Theano Sileloglou, has become a first engineer at Hellenic Seaways, a Greek shipping company.

Theano Sileloglou – First woman 1st engineer

In Greece, several young women have tried to find a place in the marine industry by choosing to study in the country’s National Merchant Marine Academy. Theano Sileloglou, 30, has been a member of Hellenic Seaways since 2010. Sileloglou, who began her career as a 3rd engineer on “Mykonos Island” ship in 2010, is a 1st engineer today. Until now the ship’s engine room was a only male-dominated one.

Sileloglou does not come from a naval family. However, she has always loved the sea. Interestingly, a marine academy’s advertisement on television made her take the decision to join the sector.

As an engineer, she has number of duties. She has to coordinate with the other ship’s first engineer for any technical issue arising. Handling the engine room, she makes decisions about everything that ensures proper operation of all mechanical systems. Most importantly, she is responsible for the safety of the crew and the passengers.

“When I started working on a boat, things were difficult. The old sailors could not easily accept a woman in their field, since they once considered it a bad luck”

Sileloglou told Xinhua that the sailors started trusting her eventually and accepted her. “However, women who want to pursue this profession, have to be armed with a lot of patience, strength and persistence because, unlike men, we still have to prove ourselves,” she said.

The maritime industry offers great employment opportunities for both male and female seafarers. However, employment equality has been a problem haunting the industry, worldwide. A considerate move towards raising awareness among prospective female seafarers must be taken. Moreover, policies supporting their welfare must be introduced to encourage more participation.

Picture Credit: bta.bg

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Bhawana is an intern with SheThePeople.Tv

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