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The retention of women in the marine operations.

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Abstract The marine industry has been known over the years for the responsibility of carrying over 90 percent of the world trade and maintaining the logistical pipeline in the international crisis. The industry affects almost everyone globally, with regards to their daily living, as the goods that are consumed in every household are shipped in and out, worldwide. This study focused on the female marine pilots, the female tug masters and marine engineers of Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA)’s 8 ports, who penetrated the male dominated industry, the maritime industry. The aim of the study was to investigate the retention of female mariners in this male-dominated industry. To achieve this, the qualitative methodology was employed. Purposive sampling was done to recruit the participants for this study. A non-probability sample of 18 female mariners was drawn out of a population of approximately 100 TNPA women working as marine pilots, marine engineers and tug masters. The findings of the study indicated that only a minority of women can succeed in this industry, but the majority is unable to stand against the challenges, which result in them giving up their careers. The findings of the study also revealed the notion that the maritime industry is a man’s world, the stereotype that a woman should be at home cooking in the kitchen and bearing children. The participants of the study also hinted on the rising challenge of sexual harassment, in addition to the gender stereotypes. This demoralises the female mariners, whose decisions are also often downplayed by their male counterparts. Based on these findings, it was recommended that more females should be attracted to this industry, for instance, in the form of sponsorships to support them to pursue studies in this field. It was also recommended that awareness should be raised, in order for potential mariners to familiarise themselves with the industry, prior to joining it. Essentially, it was noted that policy makers should ensure that affirmative action is emphasised, for women to realise their dreams of becoming mariners. Key words: female mariners; retention, marine sector.


Master’s Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.