In the 19th century, on some of the British sailing vessels that carried merchandise, the captain’s daughter or wife would sometimes become a stewardess aboard a ship. Her job could be any one of the following. Maintain and keep financial and inventory records, cook, serve meals and clean the living quarters.

Women came into the merchant navy at the beginning of the 20th century. Jobs for them were then once again restricted to cooks, waitresses, and cleaners . It was after the World war II that ladies started to take different roles out at sea on merchant navy ships.

As time advanced through the nineteenth century, ladies started laying down a good foundation for themselves in the maritime field.. It was a welcome change as they no longer had to disguise themselves on board. Nor did they have to be accidentally in command .

The modern world had slowly begun to accept women as seafarers on merchant navy ships. Women from Europe, USSR , Australia, and the USA were among the first to enter the male-dominated merchant navy industry in various ranks, from ratings to officers in the deck and the engine department.

In today’s world, times have changed drastically, and many women have entered the Maritime Industry and have joined various colleges and institutes to make their careers out at sea. In India, many women seek to and have ventured out at sea, and slowly, the number of women seafarers is on the rise.

Nowadays, many women are out at sea in different roles on merchant navy ships. Yet, they only comprise approximately two percent of the 1.2 million seafarers worldwide. That makes it around 2 % of women in the maritime industry around the world and less than 1 % of them in India. With changing times, it is now much easier for women to enter into an industry that was once predominantly male-dominated.


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