In countries of the „17 + 1” format, especially such as Poland, significant involvement of women in professions traditionally dominated by men is observed. This positive phenomenon can be due to a number of factors.
Currently, over 1/3 of students at Polish universities are women. In the countries of our region, men no longer have problems with accepting female students and colleagues (although they are sometimes surprised) – says one of the officers. Today, for whoever has high qualifications and skills, gender plays a secondary role. Students compete on an equal footing, with girls often getting better results than their male colleagues.
Polish maritime universities are highly rated in the world rankings of universities – according to the CSIC (Supreme Research Council in Madrid) classification. They occupy first place in Europe and fourth in the world. In 2018, the Maritime University of Gdynia was included in the so-called Shanghai List – a prestigious ranking of universities in which it took 42 place in the category of marine engineering. Every year, the University of Gdynia’s walls are left by about seven thousand graduates, and in total, during its history, the university has educated about 22 807 students. Since 2000, the Naval Academy in Gdynia also educates women.
Maritime universities in Poland meet requirements set by the International Maritime Organization in a greater and greater extend. Safety at sea, marine environment protection requirements, the development of modern ship technology and offshore construction require staff with unique specialties. Maritime universities in Poland in a greater and greater extend achieve the high quality of training and deliver staff able to use properly modern ship technology.
The offer of majors and specialties at Polish maritime universities is very rich and the undoubted advantage is the development of new specialties that are a response to the current demand of the labor market. Since 2018, both the Maritime University of Gdynia and the Maritime University of Szczecin have opened new unique specialties, including spatial information systems in maritime navigation, inland navigation, mobile and internet applications, modern ship management and others. Most classes are conducted in English.
It is also worth mentioning the unique projects implemented by the Maritime University of Szczecin in areas such as autonomous navigation technology (as part of the continuation of work on the NAVDEC system). The Academy conducts a course for crews of autonomous units developed as part of the AVAL project with the participation of Sup4Nav (Aval-project.pl). In addition, technical and operational standards for navigational decision support systems are being developed.
Cooperation with foreign R&D and teaching centers as well as international institutions has also been maintained and developed for many years. It is worth mentioning the exceptional cooperation between the Maritime University of Gdynia – UMG and Shanghai Maritime University – SMU. UMG-SMU universities have been honored with the „Best Practice” award for the best example of long-term Polish-Chinese cooperation (since 1984). Cooperation between these institutions is based on: exchange of visiting professors, scientific supervision over the implementation of the doctoral dissertation, exchange of students, joint participation in prestigious international conferences (IMECE, IEEE, IMEKO), joint scientific publications. The most important axis of this cooperation is partnership in international joint projects (Sino-Polish Joint Research Projects) in priority areas of science and technology oriented towards the sea, as well as partnership and cooperation in international research under the auspices of maritime organizations: IMO (International Maritime Organization) and IAMU (International Association of Maritime Universities) as part of joint projects supported by the Nippon Foundation.
According to the latest Women Forbes ranking, it is easier for women to succeed and have a creer in countries undergoing strong economic transition then in those with stable economies. In countries that are chasing the West and developing twice as fast as the EU average, it is easier to break the „glass ceiling” and get to the top.
While we observe a positive phenomenon in the context of maritime education, there is still a long way to go in the context of the maritime labor market.
The experience of women on the labor market so far has not been satisfactory. In many cases, there are still women who graduate with excellent results, are well qualified and prepared for the profession, and their job applications are systematically rejected. When they do not engage in professional activity, they do not share their knowledge, they do not advance despite appropriate competences, and their potential is not fully utilized. Employment of women concerns rather auxiliary functions, hence women receive relatively lower wages. The International Federation of Transporters (ITF) estimates that between 28 and 30 percent of cruise ship employees are female seafarers. When it comes to employees of Polish technology companies of an innovative nature, women currently constitute 20-25%. Although the share of women in substantive and managerial positions has increased by 6% (and in company boards by even 11%) in the last 5 years, the enormous potential that women can and should bring to the maritime industry is still not being used. Furthermore, in many countries, data on women’s employment are limited and are not well documented.
It is therefore desirable to collect quantitative data on women’s employment in the maritime labor market and to define the clear role that women can play in the maritime sector.
publication: Patrycja Zając