March 8th is an important day; an important day not just for women, but for everyone, regardless of gender. Ships2Shores celebrated this day with a panel of women working in the Canadian maritime industry. Each speaker was more inspiring than the last, and the event created such an enriching conversation, so uniquely enriching that when I left the meeting, and my camera turned off, I decided to stay seated for a good 30 seconds in front of the black screen, completely speechless.
Inspired. This is how I felt, in front of this black screen, at the end of this conversation.
I felt inspired, unsettled, and my head was filled with notions of feminism and progress, with many new answers and even more questions.
Please go and listen to this round table discussion when it is uploaded to our YouTube channel, I assure you that you will not be disappointed. You will get the chance to meet Beatriz Simas, Suzanne Appleton, Danielle Doggett, Jillian Adams and Libby Drew… and you will have the privilege of discovering the beautiful conversation born from their exchange.
For my part, I think my favorite aspect of the discussion was when the panelists brought up the subject of what it was like to be a woman in the marine industry. What are the expectations we place on them? Quite simply, excellence. However, this is difficult, because like men, women have bad days and difficult times, when they will not be at their best. Furthermore, when you represent a minority, no matter in what regard, all eyes will inevitably be on you. It is as if there is ongoing pressure on them; the pressure to represent 50% of a demographic that, because it is under-represented, is expected to perform under the spotlight.
I found that interesting … and a little bit sad, I won’t lie. This point really stood out for me. It would be so easy to just treat everyone the same, with respect, and to value someone in their job simply because they are competent.
It was Danielle Doggett who pointed out that despite all the fine words, despite everything that can be said about feminism and equality, about the progress and necessary changes, despite this, the best way to make a difference is by taking action, by leading by example, by inspiring through leadership and just showing that it is possible to reach for the stars. Therefore, that is exactly what each of the women at this round table does every day, and that’s what they’re going to continue to do, because they’re absolutely amazing.
It was a great discussion; an honest, heartfelt discussion.
I wish March 8th was everyday.