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Marwa Elselehdar, The First Female Sea Captain Of Egypt, Is Being Blamed For The Suez Canal Crisis

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Whether it is in a casual conversation with friends, workplace banter or even a dinner-time debate, that women are being given more opportunities now more than ever, is usually constantly reiterated by men. Of course, we have to keep in mind the fact that women have access to almost all occupations, even ones that were hitherto reserved solely for men, and we’re excelling in them is proof that we’ve earned our place at the table. But looks like, despite offering women a seat at the table, there is always a hidden agenda of pulling them down. A thought that we’ve been forced to think about after the first female Egypt sea captain was falsely accused of closing down the Suez Canal.

The controversy that had blown up for a few days, comes after Marwa Elselehdar, Egypt’s first ever female sea captain was subjected to a social media outrage for allegedly blocking the Suez Canal for a week, when in reality she was working on a ship hundreds of miles away.

The matter was highlighted after the canal authority made an announcement that the backup of ships was finally cleared on Saturday, which was 11 days after the container ship Ever Given was wedged across a narrow section of the canal and six days after the ship was actually freed.

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Denying any claims having to do with the blockage, Marwa Elselehdar said that she instead was working on the Aida IV, which was hundreds of miles away in Alexandria. It was then, that she realised there were rumours about her floating online, that blamed her for the accident.

With in a short of span of times, there were articles being minted out that quickly went from “Marwa Elselehdar: Egypt’s first female sea captain is riding waves of success” to “Cargo ship crashes into Suez canal. First female Lloyd Arab captain involved in incident,” in no time. This after the blockage of the Suez Canal resulted in losses of billions of dollars globally. To add to that, several fake social media profiles of Marwa were created by trolls that ultimately made it difficult for her to put her own POV out there.

Making her statement in an online video, Marwa clarified, “Frankly, when I read the news I was upset because I worked really hard to reach the position I have reached. Anyone who works in this field knows how much effort a person has made over the years to reach this rank.”

She went on to say, “It is difficult to see that someone is trying to cancel all this effort … or accuse me of being a failure or that I neglect my work. It’s my reputation, and I definitely don’t want it damaged like this.” She also said, “People in our society still don’t accept the idea of girls working in the sea away from their families for a long time. But when you do what you love, it is not necessary for you to seek the approval of everyone.” Touché, sister.

It was an eye-opener to see that in times of a crisis, the society’s instinct was still to put the blame on the shoulders of a woman, who didn’t just have nothing to do with the matter, but was also miles away, doing her job just fine. Guess, the real problem here wasn’t just the blocking of the Suez canal, but the inherent sexism that still looms large.

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