Uniting Against the Tides: Filipino ‘Shefarers’ Organising Against Sexual Harassment

Volume 51 Number 2
Published: September 23, 2020

In the Philippines, seafaring has been associated with men since the sixteenth century. However, in the 1990s, Filipino women started to enter this male-dominated world. But it has not been smooth sailing. Based on interviews with Filipino women seafarers, this article shows how they have experienced various forms of sexual harassment from their male colleagues and senior officers. Women seafarers who have been victims of sexual harassment have been unable to file complaints against their aggressor/s because of technical difficulties in pursuing a case, especially when the incidents happen on board international ships and the perpetrators are foreign nationals. This article discusses how a group of Filipino women seafarers have decided to organise to fight sexual harassment. With the setting up of a women’s committee of the male-dominated seafarers’ union, women ‘shefarers’ have started talking about verbal and physical sexual harassment in order to raise awareness of the problem.

From Issue: Vol. 51 No. 2 (2020) | Collective Action for Accountability on Sexual Harassment: Global Perspectives