This year’s SAN conference was full of openness and courage on a number of sensitive issues. Frida Wigur is one person who has paved the way for this honesty. She is a ship’s cook and criminology student and launched the #lättaankar movement. By taking up the problems of victimisation and harassment, she has not only shown the need to work with these issues but also that they can be dealt with constructively. Representatives from several shipping companies were on stage during the conference to share their own shortcomings and constructive measures, which was good to see. It felt positive, too, that the head of department at the Marine Officer Academy in Kalmar underlined that the Academy had not done enough to stop offensive behaviour toward female marine officer students during their placement on board. The Academy is now planning a full day’s study of different aspects of gender equality, and if all goes well it may become an annual event. Even though there are many good examples of work against harassment and victimisation – perhaps more than ever before – there is still much left to do. Only the other day, one of the administrators behind #lättaankar said that they had recently asked the Facebook group’s members what happened on the ships after the MeToo campaign. They received many responses, some expressing that the atmosphere on board had become better and that the shipping companies were taking the issue seriously. However, many said that the employees who had behaved badly before the campaign had become even worse and that women were being harassed as a result of MeToo. We have to hope that the commitment against harassment does not stop at agreements between representatives of shipping companies ashore, but will continue and expand to crews on ships.
Linda Sundgren, San-News