Elizabeth Marami1st Officer/ Founder at Celebrity Cruises/ Against the Tide
Born in Mombasa, Kenya, a town surrounded by the ocean, Elizabeth Wakesho Marami 33, never quite thought that was where she would spend half of her life. She however knew she was born to change the world. Today, a 1st officer on RCG- Celebrity cruises, her core purpose remains to change the world as she champions for diversity and inclusivity in the maritime industry through her foundation Against the Tide and her voice on it
Elizabeth’s journey began when she was 21, when she joined the Arab Academy for Science Technology and Maritime Transport in Alexandria to study BSc. Nautical Technology after being awarded a scholarship that saw her defer from her Law degree at Kenya’s prestigious University of Nairobi. After graduating with a 1st class honor, she went on to sail on different vessels. Starting out as a cadet officer on board AIDA IV training vessel, NAMMA shipping lines; Upon completion she successfully passed her international unlimited 2nd mate license landing her a post as an apprentice marine pilot at the age of 25 having garnered expertise both locally and internationally including training with pilots from Hamburg Authority in Germany making her Kenya’s first female maritime pilot. She later chose to return to sea in 2017, where she went into cargo ships, with CMA-CGM up until 2018 when she joined the cruise industry.
Elizabeth’s journey in the seafaring career has not been glitz and glam. In an industry where women seafarers only form 2% of the world’s maritime workforce, it was perceived normal when she chose to seek employment at sea and was turned down because of her gender. This fueled her passion further to bring change and equality for women on board ships leading to her project, ‘against the tide’ - which is an online platform that allows female seafarers across the globe to tell their stories and voice out their needs, highlighting not only the challenges they face, but most importantly how they are overcoming them, in this unique career path they have chosen hence encouraging other women and advocating for equality in a field where women only form 1% of the entire seafaring workforce in the world. She hopes Against the tide will bring forth a new day on the horizon for female seafarers where there will be equal employment opportunities, better work environment, firm laws on sexual harassment on board and accommodating maternity leave without fear of losing jobs. Through against the tide she has sat forums and discussed key policies enabling her to work closely with IMO’s gender program. She also played a key role in championing for Kenyan seafarers for placements on foreign going ships in parliament which saw many young men and women from Kenya join the maritime industry and the revival of the Kenyan shipping line.
Growing up knowing that she was born to bring change, Elizabeth’s dream had always been to stubbornly take on tasks that set her apart from the norm. Therefore, to have broken the gender barriers and successfully work and compete in a male dominated career path was a logical outcome of this stubborn persistence. She has since used it as a platform to inspire young girls to pursue their dreams, and to dare to dream regardless of societal perceptions and the attendant gender norms that at times hold captive a girl child's dream. Her passion to mentor young girls in her own capacity especially girls between the age of 15-21 years saw her being appointed as a mentor by GEC Kenya (girl education challenge), WOMESA (women in maritime in eastern and southern Africa), Akili dada, Tabitha’s daughter’s international, Safaricom’s Blaze and Zanaa Africa. Elizabeth’s zealous approach towards mentoring young girls not only saw her being appointed WOMESA (women in maritime in eastern and southern Africa) Mentorship committee chair and WIMA (women in maritime in Africa) National coordinator but also landed her a role as an "always brand ambassador" for proctor and gamble's ‘stand up and keep girls in school campaign’. This widened her scope and advocacy platform on the areas she mentored, allowing her not only to mentor, but also to curb the menace of girls missing school because of lack of sanitary pads by distributing free always sanitary packs courtesy of proctor and gamble. She has continued to work with brands such as old mutual and her employer celebrity cruises to champion for diversity and inclusivity.
Elizabeth’s unwavering commitment and passion for advancement of opportunities the female gender and the girl child, saw her distinguished, nominated and winning the following awards:
Business Daily Africa’s top 40 under 40 women award - 2015,
Miriam El-Mawy award (office of the president of Kenya)- 2021
Influential youth in Africa -leadership- 2016
Rising Star – Women in Transport in Africa (DURBAN -South Africa)
MOTTO: Be Kind, be selfless and dare to dream, you will be unstoppable.
AGAINST THE TIDE LINKS: WEBSITE: www.againstthetide.co.ke INSTAGRAM: @womenseafarers