Back in the not-so-good-old days of cruising, women were considered to be bad luck on ships, a distraction to the crew and an anger to the seas. Until the 1970s, many professional maritime academies didn’t admit women, and there were no female cruise ship captains until 2007. Things are definitely getting better for women in the cruise industry: They now make up 18 to 20% of the workforce. But there’s still a long way to go. Of the more than 300 passenger cruise ships worldwide, fewer than a dozen have female captains at the helm and it’s still a rarity to find women in the upper echelons of the cruise industry, since women only account for 5.4% of officers.
But those statistics didn’t let Belinda Bennett — the world’s first black female cruise ship captain— hold her back. Bennett has worked for the small ship line Windstar Cruises for 14 years and sails the MSY Wind Star through the Caribbean in winter and Europe in summer. She recently won the U.K.’s prestigious Merchant Navy Medal for Meritorious Service. With International Women’s Day and Women’s History month just around the corner, we caught up with this trailblazing woman who is making history and helping create a sea change in her industry.
To read Belinda’s full interview with Forbes, click Source.