Participants of the NMP Research Forum on “Perception of NMP Female Trainees towards the Seafaring Profession
In answer to the resounding call of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) for empowering women in the maritime industry, the National Maritime Polytechnic (NMP) being a gender and development (GAD) advocate and a maritime training and research institution, conducted in CY 2018 through its Maritime Research Section (MRS) a research study entitled “Perception of NMP Female Trainees towards the Seafaring Profession”.
The study aimed to determine the attitudes and views of women, specifically NMP female trainees who had already shipboard experience and those who are planning to go on board, towards the seafaring career. Respondents of the study were all NMP female trainees enrolled during the data-gathering period, 16 July 2018 to 11 October 2018.
The research was conducted to evaluate how NMP female trainees perceive the seafaring profession. Specifically, it aims to: (a) determine the motivating factors why women choose a seafaring career; (b) determine problems/challenges encountered or most likely to be encountered onboard; (c) determine the length of time women are willing to stay on shipboard jobs; (d) determine the reasons why women tend to quit their shipboard jobs; (e) determine other maritime-related occupations which women are interested in; and (f) recommend priority actions.
Findings of the said research advocacy found venue through the conduct of Research Forum on 14 March 2019 at Room 109, NMP Training Building, Cabalawan Tacloban City which was attended by forty-six (46) trainee-participants.
“The international and national maritime organizations had now recognized the potential and balance that women can make in the maritime industry. In fact, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) launched the World Maritime Day Theme for the year 2019, putting great value to women saying, “Empowering Women in the Maritime Community.” Binibigyan natin ng puwang sa maritima ang mga kababaihan dahil ang pagsisilbi ay talaga namang wala sa kasarian kundi nasa pusong handang maglingkod para sa propesyong kanyang pinasukan”, said NMP Executive Director, Joel B. Maglunsod in his Welcome Remarks.
Research proponent, Ms. Karen C. Pailago presented the major findings of the study which revealed that most of the respondents learned about seafaring from their families (35.21%), school (25.35%) and friends (25.35%). Their main motivation for pursuing a seafaring career were because of their love for travel and/or adventure (39.44%) followed by the prospect of a high salary/income (38.03%). The major problems / challenges that they encountered or expect to encounter on board would be accidents / accident risks (67.61%), sexual harassment (63.38%) and discrimination (61.97%). Yet despite these problems / challenges, more than half of them (53.52%) were willing to stay in shipboard jobs for five (5) to ten (10) years. The top reason why they would quit would be because of family (57.14%).
In addition, they were aware of other maritime-related occupations and were mostly interested in specifically two (2) of them, namely eco-tourism guide and maritime professor/instructor.
In conclusion, NMP female trainees view seafaring as a positively possible career where women may be able to thrive in the future despite several challenges and where certain gaps need to be addressed.
During the open forum some participants shared their thoughts about the research.
“What male seafarers can do, we can also do onboard. We have earned the acceptance of our male co-workers that we are part of the crew. We wish that all male seafarers will do the same for their co-workers who are women –to embrace and accept us as part of your world”, OICNW Jascha Mae Roman remarked.
OICNW Serge Joseph Navarroza also gave words of encouragement to all seafarers, especially women.
“Being a ratings is a difficult job onboard the vessel. But we should not lose our guts whenever we go onboard. We should aspire to become officers and not be satisfied with just being ratings. If we become officers, the work gets easier as it is mostly paperwork and the salary is higher. We should not think negatively because negative minds will never give us a positive life. So just work hard and let your success make your noise” he disclosed.
NMP Deputy Executive Director, Mayla N. Macadawan during her closing remarks emphasized that men and women should complement one another.
“Women were created from the rib of man to be beside him, not from his head to top him, nor from his feet to be trampled by him, but from under his arm to be protected by him, near to his heart to be loved by him”, she quoted.
Seafaring profession was well known as a male-dominated profession for centuries. The acceptance of women onboard always being an issue, as they are constantly being questioned whether the seafaring career fits women very well.Based on the evaluation instrument gathered, 96% (44 out of 46) and 98% (45 out 46) rated the research report and conduct of forum very satisfactory or excellent, respectively.
However, there are still women facing the wave of resistance. Women became more courageous, determined and challenged to equal men in the seafaring profession instead of being disappointed and discouraged to pursue the career. In fact, from CY 2016-2018, NMP records showed that there were three thousand four hundred fifty-two (3,452) female trainees who availed of the different courses offered by NMP.
In its efforts to uphold its mandate, NMP continues to upgrade its facilities and provide maritime training required pursuant to the STCW Convention as amended in 2010 including value-adding courses towards improving the qualifications of Filipino seafarers for their employment acceptability and enhanced competitiveness. It also regularly conducts maritime studies to come up with policies for the improvement of the manpower sector of the industry.
Those interested in NMP research undertakings may visit the NMP website (www.nmp.gov.ph) and access the e-Research Information System Portal which is designed to gather inputs for NMP’s research, dissemination of NMP completed researches and other articles pertaining to maritime research.
For more information about NMP training, viewers may visit the agency’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/nmptrainingcenter) where all related information on NMP training are available.
Further, NMP encourages seafarers to avail of the NMP-OWWA (Overseas Workers Welfare Administration) Seafarers’ Upgrading Program (SUP) which entitles the beneficiary to receive financial assistance for training costs from the OWWA.