Caro from Mexico is an able seafarer and part of our maritime crew. During a rescue mission, her place is the so-called embarkation zone – the area of the ship where rescued persons board the Humanity 1 from one of our fast rescue boats (RHIBs).
Together with another crew member, Caro grabs the arm of every single rescued person and helps them over the boarding ladder. This makes her one of the first to receive rescued people on board.
In November and December 2022, she was on board and assisted in the rescue and care of 441 children, women, and men. Lukas, who is responsible for communications on board Humanity 1, interviewed her after these missions.
You can find out what drives Caro, what it is like to work as a woman in a strongly male-dominated field, and how she stands up for humanity both at sea and on land here.
What motivates you to be part of the SOS crew?
I am here because I want to help and SOS Humanity gives me the chance of using my skills and my knowledge to help people. It is my perfect job and place to be, because here are the two things that I love most, helping people and also being on a ship at sea.
Here, I can help people who are in distress in the middle of the Mediterranean.
How is it for you to be a female seafarer? Are there experiences you want to share?
As a female and Mexican seafarer, for me the journey of working at sea has been difficult since the beginning of my career. You always need to prove that you’re capable of doing your job, you are constantly being tested by men because of gender; they test whether you are good enough for your position, how you behave, whether you are carried away by your own feelings or guided only by your logical mind. This includes the fact that, if I make a mistake, they are going to judge me because of my gender, not because I am a human being.
If you ask me about my experiences, I have a lot to tell. We can start with the sexual harrasment that you suffer from your superiors, the jokes about being a girl and your ‘lack’ of capacity, the disrespectul behaviour that you need to handle because they have this feeling that you are a strange person working in a men’s world. They really need to know that ships are for everyone, regardless of gender.
The general situation is that women are not considered to be competent personnel to work on ships; male colleagues don’t think that we as women are strong enough to handle this job. This must change. Men need to start considering that their sister, friend or work partner has the same capacity, just like every human being. Gender does not define the capacity of the person.
I am deeply grateful to SOS Humanity for letting me develop my skills and fulfilling the tasks on board in freedom. This shows the trust that they have in me, treating me as a person, and not judging my capacity and my work based on my gender. It feels good when you are tested on your quality of work, and not because you are a woman or a man.
What are your political demands?
All my demands regarding humanitarian and political topics are that laws and behaviour must be changed so that all humans are accepted and treated equally in all countries of the world, regardless our place of birth or our color of skin, that the treatment that all of us receive is fair, and not biased by anything.
What do you wish for in 2023?
My wishes for 2023 are that the politicians or people that are in powerful positions start to be aware of the situation in the Mediterranean Sea and take actions in favour of humanity. Also, I hope that people who are involved in the human rights movement continue to fight, resist, and continue their efforts to make change.