International Women’s Day 2022 – Women in the Marine Industry
March 8th, 2022
Today is international women’s day, so we are taking the opportunity to highlight the women who work at Berthon, and represent women within the marine industry. It comes as no surprise that the maritime sector originated within a man’s world, and still today, it is a male-dominated industry that is heavily rooted in traditional male focussed narratives. However, in the 21st century, the integration of women is happening faster than ever.
Women have worked extremely hard to gain recognition and respect, and each generation that follows, rides the ripple effect of those who came before, with their own courage and determination. At Berthon, we are extremely proud to have many women working across a wide range of roles and positions.
Influential Berthon women include Karen, Berthon’s Group Financial Controller & Company Secretary, and Sue, Managing Director of Berthon International, the highly successful yacht brokerage department. When Karen first joined Berthon she was excited to learn about the marine industry, six years later, what she enjoys most is the variety of work, projects and people that comes naturally to this vast and stimulating sector. When asked what is challenging about her role within the company, as well as in a male-dominated environment Karen commented:
‘One of the challenging parts of my role is explaining financials and other legal aspects in basic terms to ensure whomever I am communicating with understands. The wider picture always needs to be taken into consideration, which is sometimes difficult to get across especially in a group where individuals work only for one business. To anyone considering entering the marine industry, I would say enjoy the challenge, there are far more benefits than there are drawbacks. As for women, I think that there are so many opportunities right from entry-level roles, or training positions, through to leadership and senior positions. As long as you’re confident, and know your subject, then there are no barriers.’
As a company, we are keen to elevate the view that a women’s place within the marine industry is just as valued, recognised, and imperative as that of a man. Currently, the female staff at Berthon make up 20% of the business but we want to increase this number.
The biggest challenge a women can face, is to make that first step. Taking that initial jump into the industry and making that decision knowing you are entering a male-dominated space. This can be especially daunting for young individuals looking to explore an apprenticeship.
We are extremely proud of all our apprentices, both male and female. Emma is one of our third-year engineering apprentices; it is no secret that women in this field are under-represented; therefore, Emma is challenging gender norms and forging her own path within the industry. Emma’s advice to other young women considering a career in the marine industry is; ‘Don’t be afraid, and don’t be anxious to ask for help, just keep your confidence up. What I enjoy the most is that every day has a different challenge. Different boats, different projects, different departments and teams. It is a very reactive and dynamic environment to work in.’
Helen, Berthon’s Head of Marketing, has worked in the marine industry for over 14 years. Over this time, she has had the privilege to meet some inspirational women across different companies who fly the flag for women and the positive benefits they bring. “When I joined the marine world, it didn’t even cross my mind that I was entering a male-dominated industry. I have never let it get in my way. I strongly believe that it is not about the label that someone puts on you, but about your inner strength and determination to succeed. Be the best that you can be and that is all that matters. My advice in any male-dominated industry is, whether starting as an apprentice, working within a managerial role or anything in between is, and the only barriers are the ones that you create yourself. If you think you can be an engineer, an electrician, shipwright, builder or plumber – you can you just need to believe.”
Over the years, there have been many studies, providing ample evidence that investing in women is a highly effective way to lift companies, communities, and even countries. As compelling and rewarding career opportunities continue to open up for women, a new generation of strong and skilled individuals are responding, proving that in today’s world, the marine industry is for everyone.
If you would like to join the team at Berthon, visit our careers page for further details.