Egypt’s first female captain was blamed for the Suez Canal blockage, but she was not onboard the Ever Given
Being accused of something one did not do can damage both the victim’s reputation and well-being. This can be intense especially in countries where gender inequality is prevalent. Egypt ranks 134 of the list 153 list according to 2020’s Global Gender Gap Index.
Marwa Elselehdar’s recent trolling over the Suez Canal incident included fake photographs and social media accounts. Though she has no idea who masterminded the saga, Elselehdar does not rule out it stemmed from deep-seated gender inequality in her country.
In Egypt where 48.7 million are women, only 24.7 per cent are in the workforce. Furthermore, very few women are in managerial roles (7.1 per cent) and their presence among firms’ owners and top managers is also extremely limited (2.4 per cent and 4.9 per cent, respectively).
Resilience is a life skill to cope with challenges and essential in any setting, especially for individuals who are emotionally and mentally prone to setbacks. It can be cultivated in various ways:
- Seek social support – having a network of supportive friends can help diffuse the distress. The social network is the group of people with whom you interact the most with. Therefore, they are more aware of your abilities and affirm their support for you.
- Believe in yourself – Elselehdar was inevitably shaken by the trolling. However, she is not stopping her journey to be her best. She is due to take her final examination to obtain the full rank of captain.
- Manage your emotions – Practise mindfulness by acknowledging the emotion, and releasing it. Do not succumb to negative thoughts.
- Notice the good around you – In old-fashioned language, count your blessings.
Despite Egypt’s prevalent discrimination against ladies in maritime, Elselehdar strongly advocates self-confidence. Her concluding message to ladies aspiring to be in maritime, “Fight for what you love and not let any negativity affect you.”