In the process of improving gender equality across sectors, presence of women in the maritime community is increasing day by day, and countries with advanced gender equality initiatives have proven to have an advanced economic growth. To have a better view on this, Med Marine’s General Manager, Yildiz Bozkurt Ozcan talks about the empowerment of women in this sector, while cultivating a greater understanding of gender diversity and equality within the maritime industry.

Investing in women is the most effective method to improve communities and businesses, as is well demonstrated by the facts. How does the presence of women advance the marine sector?
I believe that women bring unique perspectives and problem-solving approaches to the table. Our presence in leadership roles fosters a more inclusive decision-making process, leading to innovative solutions to maritime industry challenges. 

Besides, women’s communication styles contribute to improved teamwork, knowledge-sharing, and cooperation, which are crucial in the dynamic and complex maritime environment. Our attention to detail, commitment to following protocols, and focus on risk management contribute to safer operations, reducing accidents and incidents.

What actions and activities ought to be done by businesses and shipowners in the process of "improving gender equality in the maritime community"?
In my opinion, improving gender equality in the maritime community requires a precious effort from companies and shipowners. To achieve this goal, several steps and measures can be taken to create a supportive environment for women in the industry. 

First of all, we need to focus on providing equal access to training, education and career development opportunities for both male and female employees. 

Secondly, we need to ensure that job descriptions, requirements, and performance evaluations are free from bias and focus on skills and qualifications. 

Additionally, I believe that establishing mentorship initiatives to support the professional development of women in the maritime industry is quite an important step. Through these mentorship initiatives, we can provide guidance, advice, and opportunities for the advancement of female employees. 


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What are the driving forces that attract women to work onboard?
It is quite sad that only 1.2 percent of the seafarer workforce worldwide consists of women. However; I might say that several opportunities such as competitive wages as well as the prospect of traveling the world and experiencing different cultures can be a strong motivation for women seeking adventure and new experiences. 

Besides, it is a fact that Seafarers can foster strong bonds and friendships among crew members and the maritime sector thus we can assert that networking opportunities can also attract women. 

What difficulties might a woman in the marine business encounter while doing her everyday tasks?
It is not easy to be a woman in this patriarchal world and being a woman in the maritime sector is sometimes even harder because women may encounter stereotypes and biases that undermine their professionalism. 

I believe the hardest part lies in gaining respect and recognition from colleagues because some patriarchal notions about gender roles can lead to such challenges. 

Can you tell us about your success story that empowered you during your job practice? 
Since joining Med Marine in May 2015, I dedicated myself to inspiring and empowering every female worker within the Med Marine Group Holding. 

My consistent message emphasizes that the limits of talent, skill, and commitment are not defined by gender and that women possess the ability to achieve remarkable success across all domains, even in the demanding and rigorous maritime sector.

For several years, I have proudly held the position of Chairman at the Professional Woman Network organization. Throughout this assignment, my continuous focus has been on cultivating a greater understanding of gender diversity and equality within the maritime industry.

At every step of my journey, I have been a passionate advocate, striving to foster a culture where women recognize their full potential and seize the opportunities available to them. 

My commitment to raising awareness about these important issues has been a driving force behind my work, both at Med Marine and within the broader maritime community.


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What would you say to young women who are hesitant to work in the marine sector?
First of all, I need to say that the maritime sector offers a wide range of roles beyond traditional seafaring, including areas such as logistics, operations, management, engineering, technology, and environmental sustainability. 

This diversity means you can find a role that aligns with your skills, interests, and aspirations. Secondly, your presence in the maritime industry can inspire and empower other women, contributing to a more inclusive and diverse workforce. Your success could be the catalyst for positive change in a traditionally male-dominated field. Last but not least, remember that your potential knows no bounds, and the maritime industry is evolving to be more inclusive and supportive of women.

Robban Assafina Magazine, Issue 87, Sept./ Oct.. 2023, Maritime Host, pg. 95


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Issue 87 of Robban Assafina

(Sept./ Oct. 2023)


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