Our crew discusses International Women’s Day

07 Mar 2022 | Dan Benham

Sea Ranger Service MD Christel Pullens is featured today in the She of Change magazine. As part of International Women’s Day she talked about how diversity in all areas serves to strengthen the maritime industry, how this benefits the Sea Ranger Service and how she promotes diversity within our organisation.

Diverse and inclusive teams are creative, they outperform others and are, in maritime language ‘the engines of innovation’.

Christel Pullens, MD

Christel’s piece is very insightful, and worth a read today. However we felt this was a good opportunity to see what the other members of our crew felt, so we sent them all the same questions that Christel was asked to see what their responses would be.

Gender Equality is at the heart of sustainability

The first question the team was asked was focused on the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day; this year’s theme is Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow. Why and how do you think we can achieve this?’ One of our new Sea Rangers, Sophie Hankinson answered this question from the point of view of tackling issues of sustainability; “If you leave women out of the process of creating sustainable solutions, you miss half the world’s population to tackle critical environmental problems. I believe we need everybody’s motivation, skills, and creativity to ensure people around the world and future generations can live a healthy and prosperous life”, whereas Nina, another Sea Ranger that has only joined us this year addresses systematic and cultural biases “Talking about gender equality is an important first step. The bias most of the time doesn’t show on a personal level but more in company cultures, or ingrained in society. This way a lot of people are unaware of the biases that women may experience. Opening up the conversation and making people aware is an important and powerful first step”.

CDO Effie Baert takes this question one step further by saying “For me the equality we are looking for is not only for women but for all gender identities. I would say it is important to stop thinking in specific boxes where everyone should neatly fit in and start being curious about others, and open to learning from other people’s experience and viewpoint. Recognising where the bias lives within yourself and being aware when it pops up is the first step we can all take.

Founder, CEO Wietse van der Werf urges other businesses to take diversity seriously; “achieving a just transition towards a cleaner, healthier and more sustainable future means creating opportunities for all. In order to achieve this, we must put the focus on making these accessible to otherwise underrepresented groups. Our focus on social impacts in our conservation work is all about social sustainability; achieving a better future for all, requires everyone to be included in the process. Only true diversity makes us successful”.

Recognising where the bias lives within yourself and being aware when it pops up is the first step we can all take.

Effie Baert, CDO

Gender diversity in the workplace

For the second question, when asked how do you think individuals and companies can break the bias around gender diversity in the work place? our team had some wide ranging answers. Senior Sea Ranger Thierry van Veggel said “by communication and inclusion”, to which Sophie has followed up with “if there are problems in companies or societies these issues must be addressed first by raising awareness”.

Communications and Brand Manager Dan Benham says; “I think more and more companies are waking up to the fact that if you respect and treat your workforce well, then they perform better and stay with you longer. At the root of this progression is gender equality and true diversity in the work place”. 

Nina answers this question by thinking ahead to future generations “I think we as a generation can take a big step forward. By raising kids equally and teaching ALL kids their ideas are valid and that they can grow up to be whatever they want. Being confident in yourself and your talents will help you take the space offered to speak up. This is where the companies come in. They should offer people this time and space to grow, speak up and believe in themselves.” Effie expands on Nina’s point of self confidence by saying “Loving yourself and loving others is the basis of trying to get things right with each other. From there you can work on understanding and empathy. When managers make sure there is room for all of these to grow within a company and open communication around difficult topics is stimulated and coached, teams can grow together in tackling bias.”

Thanks again to the She of Change magazine for inviting Christel to contribute on this subject, it has sparked some great conversations within our team.