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HomeIn focusBahrain’s first female boat captain, Hawra Al Jufairi, is confident of "more women mariners" in the future

Bahrain’s first female boat captain, Hawra Al Jufairi, is confident of “more women mariners” in the future

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Bahrain’s first female commercial boat captain, Hawra Al Jufairi, has shattered stereotypes and paved the way for a new era of opportunities for women in the maritime industry. Her remarkable journey serves as an inspiration to countless others, highlighting the strides being made towards gender equality and sustainable development in Bahrain. In a traditionally male-dominated sector, Hawra’s success showcases the immense potential that exists for women mariners. This week’s Truly Local segment delves into her story, the challenges she faced, the milestones she achieved, and the impact she continues to have on empowering women in her field. “It is a huge honour to be a role model for all the Bahraini females who are working hard and chasing their dreams and pave the way for others to follow in my footsteps,” Hawra told Bahrain This Week.

Two years ago, Hawra became the first Bahraini to secure a license to drive a commercial powerboat in the country. In April 2021, she received her Master’ certificate from the Maritime Affairs at the Transportation and Telecommunications Ministry after successfully completing the UK’s Royal Yachting Association Level 1 training at Delma Marine in Hidd. “The whole experience and the success motivated me to continue my career by taking Level 2 of the commercial license,” said Hawra. She reflected that being the first female in the maritime field posed several challenges, including societal expectations and beliefs that question women’s leadership and managerial abilities.

“Besides, as a captain, my job is to oversee operations, navigation, safety, and passenger service,” said the Southern Tourism Company (STC) employee.

“I supervise everything and make sure guests follow local laws while docked on a jetty. To an outsider, it all looks slightly easy, but for me, it is more challenging than it seems, as passengers’ safety is my top priority on each and every trip. All of that is just fuel for me that enlightens me to take an exception to be a distinctive individual in a male-dominated sector. I do believe in myself and in my abilities, and I will never let selfdoubt creep in and undermine my confidence.”

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She credited the Mumtalakat-owned STC for its concerted effort to improve diversity and inclusion in all aspects of operations and policies. “Not only does this help to remove biases, but it also helps to demonstrate that mindsets are changing and empower women in the workplace. STC encourages mentorship and sponsorship programmes, provides flexible working patterns, and provides training and development opportunities.”

She expressed her contentment in helping lead the way for a new generation of women who would like to follow a similar path.

“I hope it gives confidence to young women coming up through the ranks that it is achievable and possible to do,” she said.

“Never settle, as it is easy to just go with the flow and take whatever life gives you. Anyone can do that, but if you want to achieve your goals and reach the top of the pyramid, go for it. Besides questioning everything, be curious, and always be thrilled to learn and understand everything. That’s how you learn.”

The future of women in Bahrain’s maritime sector is bright, believes the woman who lives in Salmabad with her parents, Atifa Farhad and Mohammed Al Jufairi, and siblings, Zahra, Qassim, Zainab, Ammar, and Fatima.

“Women are serving in parliament and positions of leadership, and laws are being reformed to advance gender equality. I strongly believe that young women are bringing new knowledge to the maritime industry. It is my conviction that we can easily transform ourselves into a progressive, cutting-edge, peoplecentred business that is fit for the future. I have no doubt that success will breed success, and we will see more women in the maritime sector.”

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