During a meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, in December 2018, Veronica Bristol was elected as the first Chair of the Steering Committee of the Network for Women in Marine Science (WiMS). Below you will have the opportunity to read more about Veronica and her work at the Seychelles Maritime Academy and as the Chairperson of WOMESA-Seychelles (The Association for Women in the Maritime sector in the Eastern and Southern Africa Region).
I’m Veronica Bristol and I come from the Republic of Seychelles. I have been working in the maritime industry for the last five years. I got involved in the maritime sector through the love and passion that I have to work for youth of my country and also being pushed by the challenges that the maritime field is one which is dominated by men. I wanted to change such trend. Moreover, the maritime industry in my country needs more women, particularly in leadership roles to contribute in terms of decision-makings to promote gender equality and promote female seafarers
In my day-to-day task, I manage, administrate and lead the Student Support Services Department of the Seychelles Maritime Academy. I ensure the efficient and effective operation of the unit by maintaining a professional rapport with parents and the relevant organisations. I maintain liaison with parents or guardian and coordinate with all relevant agencies on matters pertaining to the welfare of the students. The main purpose is to facilitate learners with available services so that they can successfully complete their studies.
The range of services which I offer include the coordination of the registration, induction and orientation programme, enrolment process, progression in Work-Based Experience, promulgation of information on availability of opportunities etc. Advice and support are provided to the students to successfully complete their chosen programmes and thereafter secure job opportunities in the maritime industry upon successful completion of their respective programme of studies.
Apart from my day-to-day duties, I am also the Chairperson of WOMESA-Seychelles. The Association for Women in the Maritime sector in the Eastern and Southern Africa Region (WOMESA) was formed as a regional organisation under the auspices of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
The Association which has members drawn from 25 African countries promotes women access to quality employment and opportunities in key decision-making positions within the Maritime Industry. Undoubtedly, the Blue Economy offers numerous opportunities for both male and female to work both at sea and offshore. However, the reality has seen women being excluded from some of the available opportunities. The journey to gender equality in the maritime sector, like in many other sectors has its own curves. As the chairperson of WOMESA-Seychelles, I’m dedicated in finding solutions to the so many factors that hinder the advancement of women within this male dominated sector.
During one of WIOMSA (Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association) meetings held in Nairobi Kenya between the 11th and 12th December 2018, I was chosen as the Chairperson of the Steering Committee of WiMS, which is a women’s network and falls under the aegis of WIOMSA.
We had our first online Steering Committee meeting on the 20th February 2019 and with every member’s effort, I am enthusiasm to see WiMS becoming a powerhouse in the Western Indian Ocean (WIO).