Sexual Harassment, Bullying & Discrimination in The Super Yacht Industry
A note from the author:
The purpose of this article is to draw attention to this age long saga.
I am saddened and disturbed that sexual harassment and bullying on-board super yachts, is STILL going on!
Recently, I have been receiving emails from young stewardesses, asking for my advice with sexual harassment and bullying on board. Whilst, I am always available to offer an empathic ear (that’s all I can do, at this stage).
It will take real courage and ACTION on your behalf to stand up to your aggressor.
Below is a list of further readings on this subject, as well as industry professionals who can intervene on your behalf or take legal action if need be.
I know that may sound scary, however, if you don’t take action and just whine about your situation, then nothing will change on board, and you may find yourself out of a job.
I hope the following article helps.
Kylie O’Brien Founder and author of The Stewardess Bible
Nautilus International: Maritime Union - Protect and Respect pack - anti-bullying guide
Yacht Essentials: Sex and Sea Men
Blue Water Yachting: Sexual Harassment: What Can We Do About It?
The Crew Coach: The Dark Side of Yachting
Frank Benham: Maritime Lawyer.
WWW.UN.ORG: What is sexual harassment?
The Challenges Women Face In Male-Dominated Professions
The stereotype woman who stays at home and takes care of the kids or work as secretaries is obsolete. Today, females account for almost 50% of the entire American workforce and some of them have found their way in senior management positions in industries that have formerly been dominated by males.
But, despite their increasing number in the world workforce, women continue to experience discrimination and sexual harassment at work.
Now, let's look at a super yacht industry:
The role of a stewardess is generally executed by a young female between the age of 23 - 35 years old and if you look at industry standards, she is probably above average in looks and has a bubbly personality.
It can be established that super yacht stewardesses work in a male dominated industry, with the average crew consisting of a variation of 30-40% male to female ratio, a little greater if the yacht has female officers or engineers on board.
Sexual harassment, in particular, is a difficult situation to be in as it is emotionally charged, with physical, financial, and emotional fears thrown into the mix.
The amount of damage that this can do to a woman's self esteem and confidence is regularly understated, leaving the woman feeling victimised, vulnerable and alone.
What is sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment is a behaviour. Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
- Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment.
- Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for employment decisions affecting such individual.
- Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.
Sexual harassment (typically of a woman) in a workplace, or other professional or social situation, involving the making of unwanted sexual advances or obscene remarks.
It may be a tiny remark about the way a woman dresses or a direct sexual coercion act – most women are exposed to different levels of sexual harassment at the workplace. And what’s worse, despite the harsh penalties for sexual harassment, many acts are left unreported.
Sexual harassment can be as mundane as telling a female co-employee that she is sexy, and it can be as severe as touching her in a suggestive sexual manner.
This condition, if unchecked and corrected, may affect the work of a female employee and cause her to under-perform.
What is sexual discrimination?
Sexual discrimination is a behaviour. It occurs when employment decisions are based on an employee's sex or when an employee is treated differently because of his or her sex.
For example, a female supervisor always asks the male employees, in a coed
workplace, to move the boxes of computer paper. Or, a male supervisor always asks
The female employees, in a coed workplace to plan office parties.
According to recent studies, 4 out of every 5 women who work in male-dominated trade experience varying levels of discrimination at work, and sometimes, even outside the work area after office hours.
In the construction, mechanical engineering, and the more popular male-dominated industries, owners and supervisors are more inclined to promote male employees over women.
What is bullying?
This definition was taken from the Nautilus Protect & Respect Pack
Bullying can be described as: A threatening or intimidating work environment in which a group of people or an individual may become fearful or intimidated because of the negative or hostile behaviour of another group of people or individual
Bullying often involves a misuse of power or position and is often persistent and unpredictable. It may be vindictive, cruel or malicious, but sometimes the people displaying bullying behaviour do not fully realise the effect their actions are having on others.
Please Consider Carefully
This issue is so sensitive in nature purely due to the amount of emotion that is involved. So I have designed this section for you consider all of your options carefully.
What goes around comes around: Now, remember if you are being victimized, then it is important to document the incidences.
- What happened
Karma: Keep it professional ! Do not make false accusation in an attempt to jeopardize someones career or life, that is really not cool... And it makes the real victims fight for justice even harder.
Harden up: Please remember that you are working in a male dominated profession, therefore, it is inevitable that you will hear cursing, or sexual innuendo.
- What is important here, is that it is not directed at you, or that you do not feel threatened by this banter.
Other barriers or excuses that you may face: Many people do not want to take responsibility for their actions and may try to turn the tables on you:
- I was just playing.
- Don't be so sensitive
- She was flirting
- She asked for it
- She is imagining it
- It didn't happen that way
Remember to stay true to yourself and to the situation at hand.
Ways For Women to Flourish Even When working In a Male Dominated Industry
- Determine what sets you apart from your male co-workers and develop these attributes. Women have the tendency to have questions about their capabilities, especially when exposed in an all-male environment.
- To them, it is difficult to be “one of the guys”. You have to embrace the belief that it is not necessary to make efforts to be accepted because of the fact that women are totally different from men.
- They speak and act differently. Women are inherently more empathetic, they are great listeners, and they outshine men when it comes to problem solving. You can use these gender-specific attributes to your advantage in many fields of work.
- Be frank with your superiors on your goals and aspirations. Make sure that you establish open communication with your superiors, especially when it comes to your career course.
- Men have been known to be aggressive in informing everyone on their achievements and where they want to be in the near future, while women are more passive. Some even associate their success to luck instead of their own innate skills.
- Place yourself on the radar to key people in your work organization, those who can help you achieve your goals.
- Keep a good balance between personal life and work. This may be hard to do, especially in extremely personal circumstances. In order to make things work, you have to include family members in your plan and let them know your work schedules.