Equalising the Ocean
Katy is a woman with motivation, a strong work ethic, and a lot of grit. She spent 12 years working on vessels and rigs at sea and spent 10 of those years being the only female aboard. For Katy, the lifestyle of working rigs, having intense non-stop work weeks being coupled with quality time off between swings, as well as the great money drew her in to this field – she figured, if the boys can have that lifestyle, why not she!? Additionally, Katy feels environmentally motivated, and believes that the presence of ecologically conscious people in work environments like these brings an additional layer of responsibility and positivity to the workplace.
Overall, the experiences which Katy has had with her co-workers has been great, although she felt she had to work harder to get where her male colleagues were. Many old co-workers are like family to her, and they check in with each other regularly. The environment doesn’t come without its biases though, and throughout her years she has also encountered instances where she was treated differently to her male counterparts, laughed at when arriving to her station, and on one occasion over a holiday swing, was even asked if she was sent ‘as a Christmas present’ for the males aboard the rig. These occasional comments have reminded her that although she is hardworking, qualified, and competent, that even today, a small portion of predominantly male workforces are lagging on accepting women as capable co-workers. Although, she feels this is changing, and luckily, these experiences have been few and far between.
In general, Katy believes that some companies don’t know how to handle diversity, and instead of helping fix the root cause of the gender disparity, are more focused on appearing unbiased to the public. And, unfortunately in some cases, has ended up devaluing the worth of females in workplaces.
A year ago, she quit rig and vessel work to push her boundaries and see what else she can do. Now, she is in the application process to join the Navy as part of their bomb disposal team – and has noted that no bias has been noticed – their selection is based purely on ability alone, regardless of gender or any other factors. She wants to stress that a good attitude and relentless work ethic is the best way to break into the industry for other women who want to access the diverse pathways with the marine-industries offer!