November 2017 Issue First Ever Initiative for Women Seafarers in India

Words are the tools of ‘to be’ of expression. They are completely built on the fact that you ‘are’, and in order to express it, you have built a little alphabet, and you make your words from it. – Marcel Duchamp

Late in life the English poet, novelist, essayist, and social justice advocate Sir Stephen Spender asked artist David Hockney to draw each letter of the alphabet, then invited twenty-nine of the greatest writers in the English language to each contribute a short original text for one of the letters.

Among them: Susan Sontag, Seamus Heaney, Martin Amis, John Updike, Joyce Carol Oates, Ted Hughes, Ian McEwan, Erica Jong, Kazuo Ishiguro, and Iris Murdoch. The result was the 1991 out-of-print Hockney’s Alphabeta sublime addition to the canon of imaginative alphabet books, with all proceeds going toward AIDS research and care for people living and dying with AIDS.

Enjoy those available here on Brain Pickings! Be The Change Iris Murdoch sees C as warm and friendly. Susan Sontag is inspired by Weather for W, always changing. Join together with a few friends to playfully assign a nature to each letter of the alphabet. Friendship with one’s self is all important, because without it, one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world.

Eleanor Roosevelt – The Benefits of Learning to Be Kind to Yourself: “Human beings are the only creatures, who can make themselves miserable. Other social animals certainly suffer when they experience negative events, but only humans can induce negative emotions through self-view, judgments, expectations, regrets and comparisons with others.


Mumbai, 3rd Nov, 2017: The International Women Seafarers Foundation (IWSF) trust, was launched today at Mumbai by the Indian women seafarers with honorable DG Shipping as Chief Guest and in presence of stalwarts of the shipping industry. Dr Mrs Sujata Tolani (Owner Tolani Shipping Ltd), Capt Ashok Mohapatra (Director of Safety Council, IMO) and and Mr Pradeep Rawat (Chairman, National Shipping Board) graced the occasion as the guest of honour.

The IWSF visions to promote and support women seafarers in their sailing profession. The foundation aims to assist companies’ in bridging policy gaps for women seafarers on board and help government and institutions in promoting education and policies related to women at sea. It will also work to raise awareness in the society about women in seafaring profession and assist in conducting activities that will encourage women participation in shipping. While sharing her views with press, Ms Suneeti Bala, one of the three founding members said “Sailing women being negligible in number, have been affected by gaps in policies, procedures and general social understanding of co-existence in the confined working environment of ships. These aspects discourage aspiring women and shipping companies equally in improving female seafarer numbers over the years. In order to overcome these barriers, companies and individuals may be imparted guidance on multiple fronts by way of training, policy formulation, awareness camps, assistance and much more. ”

Women’s contribution to seafaring is mere 2% worldwide, amongst 1.25 million Seafarers working on 85,000 ships. The founders asserted that the efforts of IWSF would assist in balancing the much needed gender diversity on board ships.

“We seek the blessings, guidance and support of shipping industry stalwarts and maritime community to achieve these objectives collectively” were the words of Capt Radhika Menon, the first Indian lady officer on board merchant ships and one of the other founding members of IWSF. “We seek a platform of equal opportunities and employment only based on Competency ” says the Third founding member Ms Sharvani Mishra .