Navy Women: Can Women Be In The Merchant Navy?

As the President of India gave awards to several first women including Capt Radhika Menon, we reflect upon the post written at our portal about 6 years ago and how it is still relevant in current year. So let us take a look back at what was written more than half a century ago.

Navy women portrays an image of daring ladies at sea and rightly so. But can women be in the merchant navy profession? The debate is perhaps eternal that whether women can men are equal and they can do the same jobs equally well. For centuries women have been considered to be better at household works and at bringing up kids. However, with time the concepts too changed.

Navy Women: Can Women Join The Merchant Navy

Women in Navy

The Changing Roles of Women

Women have proved themselves in all the walks of life. Well today women fight for their country; they make towers and do all the tasks that were traditionally meant for men. One profession that women have lately started exploring is merchant navy. Why not, the job requires a skill that can be attained irrespective of the sex.

Challenges for Navy Women

You can make good money and a career that is exciting as well as successful. Women have traditionally not shown much interest in this field the reasons are many. Nevertheless, today you can find a lot of women taking up this profession. The numbers are still low compared to men but it is definitely increasing. In this article we are going to discuss about women in merchant navy.

The reason why women have never taken this career option very seriously is the fact that it is a male dominated field. You will have to spend at least six months at a stretch in the sea. This is a challenge physically as well as emotionally. Staying away from your family and friends for so long is not easy for women.

Especially for those who have kids at home. The family life is bound to suffer. This made it not a very attractive field for women. Even men would prefer not to marry a woman who spends months on the ship. This has a lot to do with our social setup that believes that children must be brought up by women alone. These are the challenges that must be kept in mind before any women decides to take this as a profession.

The family must support the women who are taking up this challenge. Women might also be uncomfortable working in a ship where you have only men around. No women to talk to and share your feelings. This makes women quite depressed and negative as a result they might not be able to concentrate in their job. It’s not that men can stay away from family easily even they face a list of issues. However, for women it is more difficult indeed to stay away from their little ones as they are more emotional by nature. The challenges for women in merchant navy are numerous as already discussed.

For women in merchant navy the points of attraction are definitely the money that this job pays, the respect that you will get for being a women who wants to prove herself in a male dominated job is immense, the career opportunities for women is equal to that of men if they can do the job well. There is no gender bias in this field. All are treated equally. However, till date very few women have done this course and joined as a navy officer. This makes no success stories in this field for women. However, that definitely does not mean that this is how the scenario will be forever.

Years back even medical and engineering jobs were in the same state. We are not saying that women find this field difficult. However, there are many professions like medical, engineering and even flying for that matter where work life balance can be attained much easily as compared to navy. This is exactly why women prefer not to take up this profession.

Some Important Names

There are some names that must be mentioned here. Names of women who have dared to take up merchant navy as a profession. When we discuss about women in merchant navy we will definitely have to mention the name of Sonali Banerjee who qualified as a merchant navy officer way back in 1999.

She was the very first woman merchant navy officer for India. She has been doing well since then. Today she is a licensed marine engineer and can sail in both national and international waters. She says that the challenges are many and the most dominant of all is that men find it very difficult to believe that a woman can do a job that they have been doing for so long. However, with determination and support from her family she has achieved what many men in merchant navy have not attained.

Capt Radhika Menon is from the navigation side and first lady to become a Captain and also received bravery award from IMO in 2016 along with an award from President Kovind recently.

Poonam Dewangan is another name that must be mentioned when we discuss about women in merchant Navy. She has successfully proved herself in this field.

The success story of hers is an example for any woman who is planning to take up this field as a career. There are many queries that any woman who is planning to join Merchant navy will have. They can contact any one of the top marine schools in India and find out about the joining process. Once selected by these institutes they will have to complete the course and post that they can join any shipping company they want to. The opportunities are the same for all irrespective of men or women.

Perhaps the IMO should think of some ways of making this field more open for women candidates. Even men on the ships should open up their minds and accept women openly. The schools and colleges should address young women on this issue. These changes can definitely make merchant navy more acceptable by women. This is perhaps all that you must know about women in merchant navy. The challenges that they face, the kind of mental and physical preparedness that they need in order to survive this field and last but not the least the chances of success that they have in a field that is dominated by men.

There might be a lot of hardships involved. However, there are some names that we have discussed who have proved themselves in this field. Women are taking up this as a career option and soon they might surpass men or become equals at least as in all other walks of life.

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