The Greek Woman in the Maritime Industry

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Whenever a woman deals with an issue - using her strength, clarity, moral vision, perseverance and loyalty - she will always achieve her goals. In a direct or indirect way, she will give the best of herself and inspire her husband and children. The maritime industry was and still is one of the most significant industries and it plays a vital role in the financial and social sphere: in enhancing and broadening the life of our country and especially in enhancing the welfare of Greece, which is at the crossroads of Western civilization and culture.

by Marigo Lemou-Patitsa

Nowadays, many women act much as Bouboulina and Manto Mavrogenous did and assert themselves by their speech, self-sacrifice, presence, and the success of their family, their island and their country. Support does not necessarily mean fighting in the forefront, but fighting nevertheless and working extremely hard without getting the recognition—working often more efficiently—to support and inspire others as a mother, sister, spouse, without wanting something back, without wanting more for themselves, without looking back on the years gone by and saying “enough—I’ve done enough.”

My opinion is that the greatest contributor to the maritime sector was and is the woman who stays at home: the wife and mother of the mariner, who tries to raise her children on her own without help, who takes care of the house, who will live out her youth all alone, who will defend her home and will uphold the pride of her house. Many distinguished people--businessmen, professors, the well-educated--came from single-parent families where they were brought up only by their mothers because the husbands were away at sea. The men sent the money home, but it was the women who were the driving force in the family and who sometimes invested in a fleet of ships themselves.

”Δει δη χρημάτων και άνευ τούτων, ουδέν των δεόντων γενέσθαι”, the ancient Greeks used to say. But you cannot eat money, and wealth by itself does not always make an individual significant. It needs to be used in the right way. And the person who usually does this is the mother, the wife, the woman who is the caretaker of life, who lives at home and takes care of the family and provides for the essentials of life: the children and their nurturing through sickness and health, of their proper education, and sometimes by sacrificing her own life to be with her husband on his ship.

Only by sacrifice can life go on and the goals of life be achieved.

Only by ceaseless sacrifice did a small group of mariners become the Union of Hellenic Shipowners: men who loved the sea, who worked on it and devoted their lives to it. Men who achieved their goals because of the women at home who supported them and contributed to their ambition. It required strength, loyalty, vision and above all, faith in God and in themselves! How many churches of Agios Nikolaos do we count in our beautiful islands overlooking the sea! The woman is the one who kept the faith vital and the candles in the churches lit. She is the one who prayed for the sea to calm and for her husband to return home safe. She is the one who dressed her children and her house to welcome back her husband from the sea, the breadwinner who fought every day for the bare essentials of life.

The woman, the female muse, the female inspiration, the fighter in the everyday of life, and in the Hellenic Maritime sector, the loyal, devoted, responsible woman behind the our mariners, will always be a dynamic presence, either at home, or in the forefront as secretary, as wife, as mother, as partner, as a simple woman, simple but always dynamic.

Even in these hard times which we are facing, she stands with an encouraging smile to support her mariner and always remember that, ''The sea may get sick, but it never dies.”


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