Maritime sector has been an incredibly conventional, male dominated industry. Today, only about 2 percent1 of the world’s 1.2 million seafarers is represented by females. Studies show sectors with more gender equality tend to have better performance and growth2. One of the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of IMO stands to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
On Women’s Day, we spoke to one of our female heroes at VSTEP – Elisa Romero to learn more about her passion for the maritime industry! Here is what she said:
VSTEP: What inspired you to work in the maritime/ maritime engineering field?
Elisa: As a kid, I always preferred math and physics related topics. When I started asking myself what kind of jobs that I see myself doing, the answer was always engineering! But I was very open to the engineering field and didn’t know which branch within engineering I wanted to pursue. So, I started with civil engineering to try out. It’s very broad field, you discover what you like. I was fascinated towards water related topics, so I decided to start my career in water!
VSTEP: How did you end up at VSTEP?
Elisa: I ended up in the maritime field unexpectedly! As I said, I started studying Civil Engineering, with a passion for maritime topics. Then when I joined workforce, I started in an Offshore company where I was introduced to maritime simulators, and VSTEP. That is how I ended up here and I’m very glad about it! It was a welcoming world, with a lot to learn about simulators and plenty to do.
VSTEP: Describe your current position at VSTEP.
Elisa: I started as project engineer 2 years ago, I was responsible for software development part of the project. Since December 2020, I was appointed as team lead of the product team, responsible for all project releases, features scoping, software releases and short-term road map.
VSTEP: Do you like it here at VSTEP? If yes, why?
Elisa: I like the people and the dynamic culture. I enjoy the busy pace and how teams work with each other, I love the flexibility that VSTEP offers. I like the range of opportunities at VSTEP, it’s a medium sized company with a startup mentality.
VSTEP: Do you face any challenges working as a woman in the engineering sector? How do you experience working as a woman at VSTEP?
Elisa: I’ve never felt different because I am a woman. Never have I thought that I was treated differently just because I am a woman. I like to focus on the positivity. At my previous company, I feel that I’ve been positively discriminated at times but not negatively, somebody once said “When a woman says something, believe it! She has checked multiple times before making that statement”. All in all, I have often been the only woman in the room, but nobody has doubted my ability in doing my job.
VSTEP: Knowing that you are team lead now and also a mother of 2 very young children, how do you manage work-life balance?
Elisa: I keep my work and life separate, and I strive to give 100% in whatever I am doing. When I work, I only work and when I teach my kids, I focus solely on that. It is also important to have a partner who is willing to split 50-50 on the tasks and even more when required. We have divided all the tasks equally to help each other out!
VSTEP: Do you have any advice for young women who want to pursue a career in maritime?
Elisa: Just do it. Just go and do it! Don’t think that you’re less than anyone because you’re a woman!
VSTEP makes sure that you are prepared for real-life situations with our leading solutions for simulation and virtual training. Our state-of-the-art products allow you to train your skills for every scenario possible in a practical, cost effective and sustainable way. We are a Dutch based and ISO9001:2015 certified company. Stay up-to-date about the developments at VSTEP by subscribing to our newsletter or follow us on Linkedin.