Sophia Bullard joins Safety4Sea's Women at Sea Panel
According to a recent report by Seafarers’ Charity, women seafarers remain invisible and unintentionally overlooked by port-welfare workers. It is clear that the industry still needs to acquire a better understanding of women seafarers and their needs.
As part of Crew Welfare Week, Sophia Bullard, Crew Health Programme Director at UK P&I Club joined in a panel discussion about the topic and Women at Sea. With Sophia on the panel was Captain Ayse Asli Basak, Shipping Operations Manager at Mid-Ship Group LLC, Ondrilla Fernandes, Employment Affairs Advisor at the International Chamber of Shipping and Elina Souli, General Secretary at WISTA Hellas.
The all-female panel discussed what steps could be taken on a range of topics around creating a more diverse and inclusive maritime industry.
Sophia stressed that there’s still plenty more to do in the industry and how important it is to raise the profiles of women. With her 31 years of experience in the maritime space, she believes that self-confidence and resilience are the key factors to succeed as a woman in the industry.
Focusing on the industry itself, Sophia warned how safety and security for female crew members on board ships needs improvement in terms of harassment and discrimination. She asserted that women should have the security to feel safe in the workforce and that toxic behavior should not be tolerated.
A small charity called Safer Waves, which supports Seafarers and is open to all genders, helps people who are experiencing harassment and bullying.
Wrapping up the discussion, Sophia encouraged the industry to try and be the best ambassadors for younger people who are thinking of a maritime career.
Providing the younger generation with education and awareness, whilst breaking down barriers so that a more diverse workforce can become involved and prosper in the industry would only benefit it, according to Sophia.
“The Maritime industry sometimes gets a bad reputation, if we start listening to what younger people have to say then maybe we can change that.”
You can catch up on the panel over on Safety4Sea's YouTube channel here.