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National Maritime Day

It's been three-hundred years since pirates Anne Bonny and Mary Read were captured, and their stories certainly didn't deter other women from living seafaring lives. In 1759, Mary Lacy assumed a new identity as William Chandler and took a job as an apprentice to the carpenter aboard a Royal Navy ship1. Even though women have been breaking barriers for centuries, the International Maritime Organization reports that women only represent 2% of the world’s 1.2 million seafarers2 - which is why there have been several notable efforts to raise awareness about women leading in the marine world and in other heavy industries.

Among these is Empowering Women in Industry, a brand founded by Charli K. Matthews, CEO of Empowering Brands and Empowering Pumps & Equipment. Having launched this division of her company in 2018, Matthews was honored to have among her volunteer crew of Steering Committee members the Public Affairs Manager at Marinette Marine Corporation, Bethany Skorik. After accepting an invitation from Skorik to visit the Marinette shipyard in Wisconsin, Matthews was welcomed into a ‘steel-toed’ world of ‘serial manufacturing’.

An impressive scene was watching the hull assembly – all the steel being welded together and the beginning of piping and electrical,” shares Matthews. “Imagine cutting a war ship into 10 modules that can be quickly flipped around by cranes that have 20 people working on each module at once. This is done by a computerized system with specific calculations allowing the speed of the movement and precise changes. Some installations and welds may be more easily done upside down. This was truly amazing to see!”

(Read Charli’s full account of that experience here). “It was wonderful to see the 2019 theme of National Maritime Day be Empowering Women in the Maritime Community,” declares Matthews. “We work to do that every day and as far as I’m concerned, that can stay the theme for this year too!”

National Maritime Day, authorized by the U.S. Congress in 1933, is celebrated every year on May 22nd. This year, we’d like to invite you to participate in the following ways:

1. Watch and share the video about the IMO’s program to support gender diversity in the maritime sector3.

2. On May 22nd, tag on social media a maritime professional with the hashtags #ThankAMaritimePro #EmpoweringWomeninIndustry #WomeninMaritime

3. Nominate a Leading Lady in the Maritime Industry to receive an award this Fall from Empowering Women in Industry. The award categories can be seen on their website.

About Empowering Pumps & Equipment

With a mission is to Connect, Inform, and Educate the Pump Industry, Empowering Pumps & Equipment is the information and connection hub for the pump and related equipment industries. Learn more at

About Empowering Women in Industry

Empowering Women in Industry works to Connect, Educate, and Empower Women in a way that will not only inspire the next generation of leaders, but provide a community for those currently leading. Through our online network, podcasts, regional and annual conferences, we discuss issues, build skills, create opportunities, and strengthen our voices. Learn more at


Author: Cieana Detloff

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