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The Lloyd’s List Podcast: Sexual harassment, assaults, bullying and silence: Australia’s first female marine engineer reveals all

Listen to the latest edition of the Lloyd’s List’s weekly podcast — your free weekly briefing on the stories shaping shipping

On International Women’s Day, Stephanie Zank tells Lloyd’s List her story about being a trailblazer in the world of shipping



AS a girl growing up in Australia in the 1980s Stephanie Zank hated office jobs and loved taking things apart and putting them back together.

When she first stepped on board a ship, she knew that this was the career she wanted.

But her story isn’t one that we’re normally being told on International Women’s Day.

Stephanie Zank battled prejudice and abuse from her cadetship and throughout her maritime career, which ended in 2014 when she was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy.

Her story is one that’s normally stays untold or swept under the carpet but occasionally it bubbles to the surface, like the story of Hope Hicks, better known as midshipman X, in 2022.

“A lot of crew members would make comments, such as ‘you’re stealing men’s jobs’, which was a fairly common one or ‘I hate you because you’re a woman taking a man’s job’, but more importantly, I hate you because you’re small,” she told Lloyd’s List.

She recounted two incidents when she was sexually harassed and sexually assaulted, and the lack of support and policies in place to deal with such events.

It’s right that Stephanie’s story is told on International Women’s Day, so that despite the platitudes from many in the maritime world about the progress that’s been made, we remember how far we have yet to go to ensure an equitable and fair workplace exists for all.

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