Marwa Elselehdar, Egypt’s First Female Captain, “They Blamed Me for Blocking the Suez Canal”
Marwa Elselehdar, the first female captain of Egypt
When word had spread that Ever Given had gotten stuck in the Suez Canal, Marwa Elselehdar began reading various rumors on the internet that she was the culprit.
At the time of the Suez blockade, Elselehdar was working as first officer, commanding the Aida IV, hundreds of kilometers away in Alexandria.
Rumors about Marwa Elselehdar‘s role in the Ever Given incident were largely fueled by screenshots of a fake news headline, published by Arab News.
Marwa Elselehdar, 29, said she has no idea who was the first to spread the story.
“I felt like I was the target of these rumors maybe because I am a successful woman in this field or because I am Egyptian, but I’m not sure,” she said.
Today, women only represent 2% of the world’s sailors
Marwa Elselehdar says that she is motivated by some of the responses she received.
During her studies, she Elselehdar says that at all times she was a victim of sexism.
“On board, they were all older men with different mindsets, so it was difficult not being able to find like-minded people to communicate with.” “It was a challenge going through this alone and getting through it without affecting my mental health.”
“People in our society still do not accept the idea that women work in the sea away from their families for a long time,” she adds. “But when you do what you love, you don’t need to seek everyone’s approval.”
After graduation, Marwa rose to the rank of first officer and captained the Aida IV when she became the first ship to navigate the Suez Canal after its expansion in 2015.
At that time, she became the youngest Egyptian captain and the first woman to cross that route.