In the first part of the REDO research project, which was completed last spring, researchers investigated why women choose to leave the shipping industry. Results indicated there were two main reasons: family and the work environment. The project is now entering the next phase, REDO 2, which aims to develop tools and working methods to address those problems in the social work environment that make women leave this line of work.
“In REDO 1, we noted a ladder of needs that must be met to feel good at work. The steps in that ladder will underlie what we do in REDO 2,” says Cajsa Jersler Fransson from the Swedish Maritime Administration.
“The first step is to create security at the workplace. Those who feel safe are able to stand up for themselves and will speak up when necessary. Step two focuses on inclusion and being satisfied with who you are, while the third step is about motivation and innovation.”
The project group will develop methods to support the shipping industry in taking these steps and improving the social work environment.
“We will work with different sorts of games and situations, rather than lectures and workshops. There are a number of very good tools for improving the social work environment, but most of them are aimed at office environments. We will adapt the tools to shipping so that crewmembers can relate better to them,” says Cajsa Jersler Fransson.
Creating security is a leadership issue for the most part.
REDO 2 is a collaborative project between the Swedish Maritime Administration, the Swedish Maritime Association, Chalmers University of Technology and the Män organization, under the leadership of the Rise research institute. Part of the project will be a pilot scheme in which conversation leaders will be trained on board to reduce the occurrence of sexist talk and harassment. Five shipping companies have joined the project so far, but Cajsa Jersler Fransson is hoping for more.
“Creating security is a leadership issue for the most part. For that reason we will train mentors who can work with the Män organization concerning safety issues on board. It covers everything from outright violence to insults and offensive language. We are grateful for our partner shipping companies of course, but we would like more to show an interest.”
REDO 2 started in October and will continue until the end of 2024. The Swedish Transport Administration is financing the project with SEK 10 million.
The final report on REDO 1 was presented in the spring of 2021. The study includes a questionnaire answered by 348 women who work or have worked at sea. Of the respondents, 77% said that they had experienced bullying or harassment on board, either towards themselves or a colleague.