Georgian sailor girl working on one of the biggest international ships
12 September, 2017
Georgian sailor girl working on one of the biggest international ships
Natia Labadze, a 24-year-old Georgian girl, is a sailor and future captain. She is the first girl after 40-year break who graduated from the department of the Sea Captain in Batumi State Maritime Academy, Georgia.

Her father, grandfather and cousins
are all sailors too. They became Natia’s main motivation while choosing her future profession.

"I often hear people’s opinion that being a sailor is not a woman's job, but not everything needs physical strength. It is possible to do much more by using your mind", - Natia says.

“On July 18, 2015, at the age of 22, in Hong Kong, for the first time, I met the captain of one of the biggest ships who welcomed me and wished a peaceful swimming”.

Future captain believes that stereotypes about the women’s job have been changed long ago.

"We prove that women are strong. I know many people who successfully graduated from the Maritime Academy, but because of the fear of the sea they no longer work on the ship. Everything has its disadvantages, but all the difficulties can be overcome.

The sailor's profession is one of the most high-responsibility and profitable jobs, yet it is mainly dominated by men. I wanted to change this stereotype and use this opportunity for my wellbeing.

I was the only female student among 121 boys in Maritime Academy. I remember fingers directed toward me - with surprised or critical shouting – “girls have nothing to do with sailing”.

Woman on the ship is such a novelty that even the uniform is sewn just for men and there is no place for the dress.
geotv.ge
Photo courtesy Women of Georgia

I was among successful students who were interviewed by the company “Columbia”. The company was selecting cadets for one of the international ships. I passed all the tests successfully, but one of the examiners from Eastern Europe told me: "You are rejected because of your gender. You are a woman. "

It was very stressful for me, but I decided to fight until the end and on the second stage of the interview I revealed my knowledge at best. In 15 minutes after the interview, they called me on the phone and told me that I was hired to work on the ship.

It was my first victory in the battle with the obstacles that culture and mentality pose to women.

The ship on which I was sent for work is 365 meters wide and 68 meters high, carrying over 14,000 containers of new cars. It is a great responsibility to work here”, - The female sailor says.

I aim to build a successful career and improve my economic conditions. I highly appreciate that my family and friends support me.

“It is a pity that I have been celebrating my birthday and New Year on the ship for three years already. When everyone is having fun, I ride the ship in the silent sea. But I am already used to it. I am 24 years old and I do not have time to freeze in one position. One day I will definitely achieve my goal and become a ship captain, ” – Natia remarks.

Source: Women of Georgia

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