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Celebrating IMO International Day for Women in Maritime 2023


Thursday 18th May sees the second IMO International Day for Women in Maritime (IDWM). Following last year’s inaugural event, IDWM celebrates women working in the maritime industry and promotes the recruitment and retention of female employees in the sector. The theme for 2023 is “mobilising networks for gender equality”.

The maritime industry is constantly developing, with a reported 35% growth between 2010 and 2019. However, there is still under representation of women within the sector and it’s crucial to create a supportive and inclusive culture, to grow talent that helps support further industry growth.

At QinetiQ, we are working hard to achieve an inclusive workforce with better gender representation, where employees are empowered to be themselves and to thrive within the workplace to make best use of differing talents, skills and experience.. This belief mirrors the mission of International Day for Women in Maritime - to create inclusive work cultures where women’s careers thrive and their achievements are celebrated.

As part of our celebrations, we have taken the opportunity to talk to some inspirational women in our company, learning about their respective career journeys in the industry. Please take the time to read their amazing stories.

Caroline Rose, Group Lead MSCA Operations –

When I left school in the late 80’s, did I know I wanted to work within the Maritime Industry? The simple answer is no, it was not something I had even thought about, I lived miles from the coast and had no knowledge of the sector? But then a sequence of events set me on the path to where I am today.“Back in the 80’s, you could be sponsored to read for a degree (mainly science and engineering), and I was lucky to be sponsored by the MoD. and I spent a year prior tostartingat Uni’ in a MoD training centre based in the Royal Navy Engineering College at Manadon, Plymouth (sadly it closed many years ago). I studied all things related to naval architecture - ship design, Naval life etc, but turned down the opportunity to continue my studies there as at the time women could not go to sea in the Royal Navy (RN), and therefore I could not join as a Marine Engineer Officer.

“So off I went to Sheffield Uni’ to read Mechanical Engineering. Roll forward a year to 1990 and the decision was made that women could serve at sea.

“I joined the Women’s Royal Navy Service (WRNS) in September 1992 and then in April 1993 we transitioned fully into the RN. I wasone of the first female Marine Engineer Officers, and subsequently the only female steam qualified Marine Engineer Officer, serving on HMS BRAZEN, HMS CAMPBELTOWN, HMS ARK ROYAL and HMS FEARLESS– lots of firsts and lots of dits for another time!

“The Navy also provided me with the opportunity to study for an MSc in Naval Architecture at UCL, and after a brief sojourn into the world of secondary school maths teaching, I joined QinetiQ as a Naval Architect nearly nine years ago.

“After a spell as the Group Lead responsible for Naval Architects and Maritime Engineers, I am now the Operational Lead for the Maritime Strategic Capability Arrangement (MSCA), responsible for the safe, efficient and effective operation of the strategically important maritime test facilities predominantly at Haslar.

I was asked do I love my current job and if so, why?

“The answer is yes. I work with an amazing group of people both from within my facilities and operations group, but also across the wider business, to deliver test facilities and experimental output, which is fundamental in ensuring the safety of ships and submarines at sea.

Would I recommend a career in the Maritime Industry? Absolutely! Whilst I have many challenges over the last 30 years,  often being one of the first to break through the barriers made life more challenging (especially in the Royal Navy), I do not regret any part of my career. It has provided variety, challenge, discipline and innovation. I have seen the world and been given opportunities I could not have even dreamt of as a young girl at school. Take the opportunities and do not be afraid to tread new paths!”

Emily Hewitt, Associate Naval Architect –

“As a woman working in the Maritime industry, I am always keen to try and promote my role and the work I do within a STEM environment to encourage young people into the sector. Encouraging young women and girls into considering a role in Maritime, which is still predominantly seen as a male working environment is so important!

“I am very grateful to have not only grown up in such a supportive and inclusive environment, which enabled me to see that I could become an engineer within the maritime industry, and I am also continually supported by my team and managers here at QinetiQ. They have helped me to expand my experience within experiments, analysis and technical understanding, to aim for qualifications such as my Master’s degree in Naval Architecture and to work with companies such as Maritime UK to expand my network.

“I look forward to continuing my work and building on my experience whilst trying to help encourage young women to take on roles within the maritime sector in the future.”

Rachael Pickwell, Senior Programme Manager -

“I am the Senior Programme Manager on NCSISS. NCSISS is the Naval Combat Systems Integration Support Service. The portfolio is based out of Portsdown Technology Park, a beautiful site with amazing views over the Solent.

“I have always enjoyed working within the Project Management domain, both within BAE Systems and QinetiQ. I enjoy the customer drive, challenges and working with our teams; particularly inworking together on a common set of goals and making a difference.

“I love the people, I work in an amazing team, full of amazing people. NCSISS offers a fantastic training ground and has seen the development of many Project Managers and Engineers. I enjoy the challenge each day brings.

“QinetiQ has supported me in every part of my life. From pregnancy to being a working mum to two young boys, my career has continued and QinetiQ has supported me in my career and enabled me to continue my development.”

If these stories have inspired you to take up a career in the Maritime industry please visit our careers Careers at QinetiQ