Female seafarers are still a minority in Germany. At the end of September this year, their share of the 7,900 employees in merchant shipping and deep-sea fishing who are subject to pension insurance on board was around 6.7 percent.
This emerges from figures from Knappschaft-Bahn-See. In the past four years, the proportion of women in shipping fluctuated between 5.4 and 5.9 percent at the end of each year. There is no discernible trend towards increase or decrease during this period.
The situation is different for women who work in the economic or service sector of shipping - for example in the kitchen or as a waitress: According to the information, most female crew members still work in this area. Nevertheless, the proportion of women there has fallen by almost ten percentage points since 2019 to 42.5 percent this year. “The decrease in the area of commercial personnel means an increase in the proportion of female employees in the area of more highly qualified personnel in shipping,” says the Knappschaft-Bahn-See.
In the higher ranks, such as captains and officers, the proportion of women in this year, as in previous years, was lower than the number of women in seafaring as a whole. In 2023 it was 3.8 percent, while in the four years before that it fluctuated between 2.6 and 3.2 percent.
The proportion of women was highest in the younger age groups in each of the five years. In 2023, it was 10.3 percent for 18 to 20 and 26 to 30 year olds. Among 21 to 25 year olds, at 13.1 percent, it was almost twice as high as the proportion of women across all age groups.