Nadezhda Nikolova, Project Officer for the Human Element
Being a woman in the maritime industry can be both rewarding and challenging. The key to go through the challenges is to keep in mind that when it comes to your career, only you can decide what your limitations and expectations are, and to try to steer away from the stereotypes. For me, from the point of view I have today when looking back on my maritime experience, the challenges I have experienced fade next to the strong fulfilment I feel from choosing a professional path in maritime. The maritime industry has given me opportunities for professional growth and advancement, a unique working environment and adventures. It is great to see the recent push for gender equality and increased opportunities for women in the maritime field.
Luisa Matias, Senior Assessor, Visits & Inspections, Human Element
I have worked in the maritime industry for over 25 years after studying engineering, naval architecture, and marine engineering. So, I have studied and worked all my life in male dominated environments. This journey has been very challenging at times. When I started my career working for a Classification Society, carrying out inspections onboard ships and at shipyards, it was not common at all to see other women in this profession. I got a lot of strange looks from people I encountered (maybe they were wondering how long I would manage to stay in the job). But this really helped me to be determined, to focus on my objectives, and to be results-oriented. After consistently demonstrating my professionalism and technical capabilities in my job, my male colleagues ended up accepting me as equal and respecting my ideas, my different ways of seeing things, and how I approached problems. It is important to improve gender diversity across the maritime sector. I believe that women see things with different eyes and a different level of sensitivity, and this results in a more balanced approach to the different tasks and challenges. I have been working in EMSA since 2005, as part of the operational tasks of the Agency, which implies inspecting Classification Societies. Every now and then I go to a shipyard or visit a ship. It is still a very male environment, but I see more women … I see that we are more visible! There are still barriers to be tackled and overcome. But the feeling of breaking barriers is extremely rewarding! And it is very rewarding to be here today, participating in this initiative.
Helin Tamm, Project Officer for Regulatory Compliance
When I was in school, and thinking about a career, I always knew that I did not want a traditional job – I wanted a career that was interesting! One day, I went to a careers fair with my class, and I noticed that a maritime academy had a stand there. After talking to them, and learning a bit more about the training on offer, I decided that a maritime career sounded interesting enough for me. My first experience was on an Estonian icebreaker, where I worked as an able seaman as part of my training. There were some other women on board at that time, working as cooks. But on my next ship – a ro-ro cargoship – I was the only woman. People did look very strangely at me at the beginning! But I was lucky – there was an Estonian officer on board that ship who came from the same region as me, so he looked out for me, and taught me a lot. I soon found out that even though you mightn’t ever work at sea, or if you only go to sea for a very short time, a career in the maritime sector offers you so many other opportunities. I worked as a maritime teacher, for example, in a secondary school in Estonia for a while. There are so many things you can do with this education; there are lots of different jobs and positions in the maritime sector.
Ester Pérez Galan, Senior Assessor of Classification Societies
I am a naval architect, and my professional experience began as a trainee working in a shipyard, where I enjoyed the opportunity to learn and grow as a professional in an environment that I loved. Later, after some years working outside of the maritime sector, I realised that I missed it and I really wanted to return. I decided to join the Spanish Maritime Administration as a surveyor and since then I have been linked to the world of maritime safety. Since I joined EMSA in December 2012, I have been working as an assessor of classification societies as part of a team with extensive experience and knowledge in the world of maritime safety. I also participate in activities focused on the improvement of gender diversity and equality and on increasing opportunities for women in the maritime sector. Even though sometimes it has been challenging, I feel very lucky to have been able to develop my professional career as a naval architect in the maritime sector without having felt different or discriminated against for being a woman.
Catarina Ramos: Senior Project Officer, Visits & Inspections, Human Element
The maritime sector has a wide range of career opportunities. For me, the sea was always a constant in life. When I was 18 years old, I switched my sports education for maritime education and once I had finished my studies, I embarked on a cement ...
Ester Pérez Galán - Assessor of Classification Societies
"I joined EMSA eight years ago as part of a team with an extensive experience and knowledge in the world of the maritime safety. It’s very rewarding to work for the EU Institutions within the maritime sector community, and I am fully committed and ...
Lukasz Bibik – Senior Project Officer for Maritime Digital Services
"When working at EMSA I can contribute to the improvement of maritime safety and marine environment, by applying new technologies. This is something extremely satisfying and rewarding despite all the challenges that the fast pace of the ‘fourth ...
Marc Journel – Senior Project Officer for Simplification
"A place to share our love of the sea. Going to sea is a complicated business; it takes competence and know-how to make a complex modern ship move safely and efficiently from one place to another. My 25 years of salty experience flying and sailing ...
Serena Ramovecchi - Senior Network and Systems Engineer
"Working at EMSA is a very interesting opportunity to grow thanks to the variety of technologies used to serve many critical Maritime Applications offered to Member States. The in-house ICT infrastructure is in continuous evolution creating a ...