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  • Discrimination

    I would like to know everybodys opinion on sexual discrimination in the Merchant Navy and whether people are allowed to have an opinion or not because its really interesting.....................................I' m not sure whether I should join or not?

  • #2
    Re: Discrimination

    I wouldn't give up on the basis that people might discriminate against me. Sometimes you could encounter negative discrimination and sometimes positive, that's true in many places. I think diversity in the workplace is very important. For one thing, people from different backgrounds have different ways of thinking, it's much better when a diverse group put their ideas and skills together. Imagine if most of our politicians were from the same background, they wouldn't be able to understand different groups qui.... Oh wait, they are mostly the same.

    You might want to ask yourself though, if you did find yourself working mainly with males, then would you feel happy there. That's a different issue but if you worry about that then, I don't know but, there might be some types of ship to avoid..

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    • #3
      Re: Discrimination

      If you go to the MN or not there will always be some degree of sexism at some point ( sadly ) no matter what you do.

      I have not much sea experience so cant really state a great deal about various ships etc.

      I would reinforce the above reply if you would not be comfortable working with what is likely to be a mainly male crew then it is something you need to think about.

      If you mean discrimination in terms of promotion/opportunities then from what I have read it is no worse/better than any other industry.

      There was another thread talking about this issue but I cant remember where it is.

      Best bet it trying to find some lady cadets with some sea time and asking for a chat about it. You normally have some at the open days of the various colleges and there are some hanging around here.
      Wise man says.... " Enough with the stupid questions "

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      • #4
        Re: Discrimination

        Every industry has some amount of sexism in it and there are some "safeguards" in place.

        To keep things simple, if someone is making jokes then either ignore them or make a few jokes back. If you can't handle a few poor jokes then you're probably best not joining. Now im not defending those that are sexist (I think it's a stupid mentality), but if companies were to sack and get rid of every sexist seafarer (male and female) then we would have a SERIOUS manning crisis.

        However, if it ever does move beyond poor jokes then make a formal complaint to your Captain. Each company is required to have a documented complaints procedure and it will be written down somewhere. If it is your Captain who is doing it (which wouldn't be a first!) then let your training officer / agency know or if it is REALLY bad then give the DPA a call (they have direct access to higher management, but it would have to be something incredibly serious so don't go wasting their time!).
        I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.....

        All posts here represent my own opinion and not that of my employer.

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        • #5
          Re: Discrimination

          I like a good joke and from time to time I will joke around with a girl with some mildly sexist/ misogynistic/ chauvinistic material (just in fun), just as I would expect her to reply with some jokey remark about my extreme lack of hair, slightly rounded physique or useless bloody bloke-ishness - Perhaps it's down down to the work environments I have worked in over the past 8 or 9 years...where chubby folk are poked fun at for being chubby, specky folk are made fun of for being specky, baldy folk for being baldy, etc ... (I'm normally at the receiving end of all because i'm all three!!)

          However, as long as it's a joke and things are never taken too far, or malicious comments are made then I see that as ok. Also, sometimes people are easily offended and it would be down to a common sense approach of "that person doesn't like joking around, better not joke around with them".

          I've never witnessed bullying though (not since way back in school anyway). My advice would be along the lines of GuinessMan. If you can take a joke and a bit of banter, and you can throw a little bit back then things will be like most other workplaces (except politically correct office type environments). However, if you ever feel intimidated or bullied then there will be channels to make complaints to have the matter dealt with.

          PS: I have come across a few people who were a bit too heavy with their jokes and banter... most times though it doesn't need to go down complaints avenues. A simple 1-on-1 chat with that person explaining that while you enjoy a relaxed atmosphere and a bit of a laugh, they have taken it too far on this occasion and that you would appreciate things toned down a little bit.

          All this is just opinion but hope this helps.
          "I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast for I intend to go in harm's way". --- Captain John Paul Jones, 1778.

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          • #6
            Re: Discrimination

            Bullying (e.g. being smacked) on board ship is an entirely different matter. 99% of companies will not tolerate that and will come down on the offender like a ton of bricks.
            I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.....

            All posts here represent my own opinion and not that of my employer.

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            • #7
              Re: Discrimination

              Originally posted by GuinnessMan
              Bullying (e.g. being smacked) on board ship is an entirely different matter. 99% of companies will not tolerate that and will come down on the offender like a ton of bricks.
              I would like to hope so! I was meaning verbal bullying, eg: some a-hole guy giving a woman grief every day for no reason other than him being a bully (i can't actually imagine it happening, but there are people like that out there).
              "I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast for I intend to go in harm's way". --- Captain John Paul Jones, 1778.

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              • #8
                Re: Discrimination

                When the first question was asked I was thinking mainly about the possibility that someone could find it more difficult to gain things like a job, promotion or better pay based on something like gender. That's what I meant can work for you or against you. Could be difficult to complain about that one, but I'm only imagining what could happen. I can't comment on how likely it is that you'll encounter different types and levels of discrimination.

                Apart from the ways to complain about possible day to day sexist treatment, I guess also, a woman is probably less likely to be targeted if she comes across as competent and not too sensitive. You might work with people from very different countries, possibly with men who are not quite so used to the idea of a strong, independent woman. It could be a surprise to see how a woman from a different culture behaves, but a male who's smart enough would realise that they need to change their attitude for different types of people.

                This is something I'd try not to worry about when deciding whether to join or not. Men can also have worries about maybe not fitting in and having a bad time because of that. Sometimes it might be justified (joining a stereotypical rugby team for example) and sometimes it will be that they're thinking too negatively. This is a career with good rewards though, so I'd say put that particular uncertainty to the side.

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                • #9
                  Re: Discrimination

                  Uh, so I stole this from another thread on this website..

                  Originally posted by minchmermaid
                  When it comes to the job itself, I am just as capable as any man, if not more so because I am awesome ( ) I accept that I might need more help doing the more physical aspects of the job but I have come across some remarkably puny men in my time who had to ask for my help with lifting and carrying! Nobody has ever given me any problems because of my gender, when I come across people who seem to take offence with me it was usually one of the old dinosaurs that Chiefy mentioned and they hated all the other cadets with equal measure.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Discrimination

                    It depends what you mean by "sexist"... often enough specific words or things people do could be classed as such or might on paper can look like one form of discrimination or another, but the reality is that real discrimination is usually more subtle and hard to prove... tone of voice, body language, looks, gestures, cliqueyness, it's part of human life; laws and rules can only do so much... the road to hell is paved with good intentions (i.e. laws), and the more authorities try to regulate natural human behaviours, the more unanticipated issues turn up. Women can have good careers in the MN and good experiences with working with (let's face it) predominantly male (and arguably predominantly foreign) shipmates. I'd suggest that personality types have as much a part to play in it... birds of a feather flock together, and I reckon you get certain "styles" of people tending to end up more on one type of company or in one type of work area, which also goes into the mix of how things pan out.
                    There are some things you would put money on happening; and some things many probably wouldn't: you've got to try and be realistic, I suppose.
                    Emeritus Admin & Founding Member

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                    • #11
                      Re: Discrimination

                      It's much less of a deal then it used to be, and sometimes can be an advantage. The cruise lines are very keen to see female officers promoted.
                      I think in most companies, most people have no issues with female officers. I work with a female superior at the moment, and have worked with a female superior in the past, and they have been excellent to work with. I haven't witnessed any discimrination at all.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Discrimination

                        Mostly there isn't a problem, in a discriminative sense against women. What some have found difficult is that this profession, though is more sexually diverse now, is still a rather male dominated environment.
                        This has been found difficult not because the guys make it hard for the girls but sometimes the girls feel a bit outnumbered.
                        On all the ships I've sailed on, any incident of sexual discrimination, being man to woman or woman to man would have been dealt with very severely. I've never seen any discrimination of this kind first hand

                        To boldly go.....
                        Forum Administrator
                        OfficerCadet.com

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