Public Perceptions about Women Pursuing the Seafaring Career a Case of Ghana

Felicity Ankoma - Sey


There have been positive responses to international calls for more females to also join the seafaring profession, but the growth rate is rather slow even with advancements in ship technology, which continues to make seafaring less strenuous than it used to be.  There are many known internal positive and negative perceptions about women in seafaring.  The studies sort for external perceptions on the matter and whether the Ghanaian public would encourage their females to pursue seafaring. Secondary data was used to trace the trend of female enrolment at the RMU from 2004 to date. The percentage of females was insignificant. Perceptions of Ghana’s general public sampled from communities close to Tema Port and to RMU (i.e. Tema and Nungua) were collated.  It was realized that few would encourage their female relatives to pursue seafaring because of its high income potentials, especially if it were for short sea hauls. Younger females were more likely to consider it.  Majority would not encourage their females, major reasons being that the job was risky and that women played the natural role of maintaining a favorable emotional environment in society. Perception about the most cherished ambition for many women was to have a happy/successful family life.  In conclusion, few people knew of the improvements in seafaring conditions.  Seafaring may become attractive to young females in Ghana with the emergence of the short sea or coastal shipping industry.  Recommendations included giving more publicity to the seafaring profession in its present state and introducing more diversity into seafaring courses to make both male and female graduates versatile, thus capable of making other career choices in their future when they opt to stay ashore.

Keywords: Female seafarers, Career, Public perceptions

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