Marwa Elselehdar: Egypt’s first female sea captain is riding waves of success

Marwa Elselehdar: Egypt’s first female sea captain is riding waves of success
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Marwa Elselehdar. (Supplied)
Marwa Elselehdar: Egypt’s first female sea captain is riding waves of success
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Marwa Elselehdar. (Supplied)
Marwa Elselehdar: Egypt’s first female sea captain is riding waves of success
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Marwa Elselehdar. (Supplied)
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Updated 22 March 2021

Marwa Elselehdar: Egypt’s first female sea captain is riding waves of success

Marwa Elselehdar: Egypt’s first female sea captain is riding waves of success
  • Captain tells how she overcame challenges of a male-dominated profession
  • Elselehdar is working on a ship for the Egyptian Authority for Maritime Safety

CAIRO: Marwa Elselehdar has become the first woman to work as a sea captain in Egypt.

As a little girl, Elselehdar always loved the sea and enjoyed swimming.

She enrolled in the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport in Egypt and joined the International Transport and Logistics Department, but she was more drawn to the curriculum that was being taught to her brother in the Department of Maritime Transport and Technology.

The department was limited to men, but she still submitted an application to join and was eventually accepted, becoming the first Egyptian woman to study in this department.

Elselehdar’s brother and mother supported her dream of becoming the first female captain in Egypt. Her father, while more apprehensive because of the difficulties in the field, did not object to her studies. She thus began the formalities to join the department, and her unique request was submitted to the president of the academy for consideration.

The president called for research in maritime law to verify the possibility of issuing a captain’s license to her, since it was the first case of its kind. After making sure that the law did not pose restrictions, examinations began.

Elselehdar passed the physical and medical tests, as well as personal interviews, proving her ability to be in control and manage diverse situations, and she joined the department like any other student.

I faced difficulties in adapting, especially during the first year, but the encouragement from those around me — and my own ability to believe in my dream — helped me overcome these challenges.

Marwa Elselehdar

“I started my journey in the department as the only woman among 1,200 students. I faced difficulties in adapting, especially during the first year, but the encouragement from those around me — and my own ability to believe in my dream — helped me overcome these challenges, and I graduated in 2013,” she said.

After her graduation, Elselehdar joined the crew of the AIDA IV ship, with the rank of the second officer.

At the time of the opening ceremony of the new Suez Canal, she applied to register as part of the crew that would lead the AIDA IV in the celebrations. Her request was accepted, and she prepared with her colleagues for the ceremony.

On the day of the ceremony, she led the AIDA IV — the first ship to cross the new shipping route — as the youngest and first Egyptian female captain to cross the Suez Canal.

Elselehdar has been working in the field for 10 years. She explained that the percentage of women in similar maritime positions does not exceed 2 percent worldwide, adding that being the first Egyptian woman in this regard was a great honor for her and noting that many girls followed her example and entered the field after her.

In 2017, Elselehdar was honored on Women’s Day by President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.

She expressed her pride in this honor, seeing it not only as a form of appreciation from the state for what she has done but also as a demonstration of the state’s interest in empowering Egyptian women and placing them in leadership positions. Recently, Egyptian women have started participating in many occupations that were traditionally male-dominated.

The Encyclopedia of Arab-African Economic Integration chose Elselehdar among the top 20 Arab women in terms of achievement.

Elselehdar said that the boat she is now working on is owned by the Egyptian Authority for Maritime Safety, affiliated with the Egyptian government and managed by the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport.

“Unlike fast flights, cruises can be long and arduous and can take up to a month or more. Of course, on these trips, I am the only woman among my fellow men.

“In the beginning, it was somewhat difficult, but we later became one team, and we split tasks equally. And because of the length of these trips, we all become like siblings,” she added.

Now almost 30 years old, Elselehdar dreams of obtaining a master’s degree and a Ph.D. She also hopes that marriage and having a family will not hinder her career.

 


Iranian TV slammed for interrupting football to prevent fans seeing female referee’s legs

Each time Sian Massey-Ellis appeared on the screen, the broadcaster cut away to landscape shots of the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and the streets around the ground. (Daily Mail/Screenshot)
Each time Sian Massey-Ellis appeared on the screen, the broadcaster cut away to landscape shots of the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and the streets around the ground. (Daily Mail/Screeshot)
Updated 14 April 2021

Iranian TV slammed for interrupting football to prevent fans seeing female referee’s legs

Each time Sian Massey-Ellis appeared on the screen, the broadcaster cut away to landscape shots of the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and the streets around the ground. (Daily Mail/Screenshot)
  • Each time Sian Massey-Ellis appeared on screen, the broadcaster cut away
  • Iranian women’s rights group: ‘Censorship is in the DNA of the Islamic Republic’

LONDON: Football fans in Iran had to endure state TV cutting away from its broadcast of Tottenham Hotspur’s Premier League match against Manchester United on Sunday to avoid showing the legs of assistant referee Sian Massey-Ellis.

Each time Massey-Ellis appeared on the screen, the broadcaster cut away to landscape shots of the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and the streets around the ground.

According to Iranian women’s civil rights group My Stealthy Freedom, the decision was to prevent viewers seeing her bare legs.

“The television censors were rattled by the presence of a female referee in shorts,” the group said in a statement.

“Their solution was to cut away from the action to views of London’s backstreets, which made a mockery of the game. At the end of the game, one of the commentators joked that he hoped the viewers enjoyed the geographic show,” it added.

“Censorship is in the DNA of the Islamic Republic of Iran. We should not normalise this practice. This is not our culture. This is the ideology of a repressive regime.”

In 2018, an Iranian state TV channel blurred out AS Roma’s badge during coverage of their Champions League quarterfinal with Barcelona due to it containing an image of a female wolf feeding the mythical founders of the city, Romulus and Remus.


Queen returns to royal duties after death of Prince Philip

Queen returns to royal duties after death of Prince Philip
Updated 14 April 2021

Queen returns to royal duties after death of Prince Philip

Queen returns to royal duties after death of Prince Philip
  • Prince Philip died at the age of 99
  • The royal family is observing two weeks of mourning

LONDON: Queen Elizabeth II has returned to royal duties, four days after the death of her husband, Prince Philip.

The 94-year-old British monarch attended a retirement ceremony for a senior royal official on Tuesday, according to the Court Circular, the official record of royal engagements.

The royal family is observing two weeks of mourning for Philip, who died Friday at the age of 99. The palace has said members of the royal family will “undertake engagements appropriate to the circumstances” during the mourning period.

The queen attended a ceremony at Windsor Castle for Lord Chamberlain Earl Peel, who has retired as the royal household’s most senior official. He oversaw arrangements for the funeral of Prince Philip, also known as the Duke of Edinburgh, until handing over to his successor days before the duke’s death.

Philip’s funeral will take place Saturday at Windsor Castle, with attendance limited to 30 because of coronavirus restrictions.

Servicemen and women from the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Army and Royal Air Force will take part in the funeral procession, and Philip’s coffin will be borne to St. George’s Chapel at the castle on a specially adapted Land Rover, which he designed himself.


LEGO’s heart-warming Ramadan greeting goes wrong as toymaker mistakes holy month for Eid

LEGO’s heart-warming Ramadan greeting goes wrong as toymaker mistakes holy month for Eid
Updated 14 April 2021

LEGO’s heart-warming Ramadan greeting goes wrong as toymaker mistakes holy month for Eid

LEGO’s heart-warming Ramadan greeting goes wrong as toymaker mistakes holy month for Eid
  • Despite the fact that Ramadan has been observed each year for more than 14 centuries, a few companies are still mistaking the holy month of Ramadan for Eid Al-Fitr
  • The picture attached with the LEGO congratulatory Ramadan tweet displayed a text showing “Eid Mubarak” instead of Ramadan Kareem

LONDON: Every year just before Ramadan begins, congratulations and greetings are widely circulated to family, friends, employees and the general public to celebrate the commencement of the holy month. 

Some businesses make use of this celebratory period by sending out Ramadan greetings while simultaneously marketing their products. Yet, despite the fact that Ramadan has been observed each year for more than 14 centuries, a few companies are still mistaking the holy month of Ramadan for Eid Al-Fitr, the celebration that marks the end of Ramadan.

 

 

Indeed, on the first day of Ramadan this year, the toy company, LEGO, tweeted what is likely intended to be a Ramadan greeting that reads: “Make it a celebration to remember with a LEGO set and open the door to quality family time spent together.” 

So far so good, right? Well not necessarily, because the picture attached with the tweet displayed a text showing “Eid Mubarak” instead of Ramadan Kareem, or any other traditional Ramadan greeting. 

Although people were not hugely disturbed by the mistake, most comments on the greeting acknowledged the effort from the part of LEGO, but highlighted that Eid is not due for another 30 days. 


‘Not during Ramadan!’ Fans disappointed as K-Pop’s BTS announce virtual concert during Holy month

“Bang Bang Con 2021” is the South Korean band’s third online concert since the COVID-19 pandemic hit. (AFP)
“Bang Bang Con 2021” is the South Korean band’s third online concert since the COVID-19 pandemic hit. (AFP)
Updated 13 April 2021

‘Not during Ramadan!’ Fans disappointed as K-Pop’s BTS announce virtual concert during Holy month

“Bang Bang Con 2021” is the South Korean band’s third online concert since the COVID-19 pandemic hit. (AFP)

DUBAI: K-Pop boy band BTS has announced that they are set to perform an online concert event on April 17. 

However, some fans are not quite happy with the timing of the concert, titled “Bang Bang Con 2021,” that happens to be during Ramadan. 

Instagram users quickly took to the platform to comment on the South Korean band’s post saying: “Please don’t make it in the time of RAMADAN because Muslim armies can’t watch it (sic).”  

 

“Not during Ramadan,” wrote one fan, while another said: “We as Muslims have to fast in the month of Ramadan, sorry I can’t follow, later.” 

However, not all fans were left disappointed. Some took to social media to express their delight.

“I change my dentist appointment. The power of BTS in my life. April 17 block off in my calendar (sic),” said one user on Twitter. 

Another fan tweeted: “April 17 ARMYS - aren't we all so lucky to have @BTS_twt?”

This event is the South Korean band’s third online concert since the COVID-19 pandemic hit. 

“Bang Bang Con 2021” will be streamed on BTS’s YouTube channel.    

In April 2020, the seven-member band presented a two-day streaming event that featured an online performance and clips from fan meetings.

Two months later, in June, the group held their first paid online gig “Bang Bang Con: The Live,” which attracted more than 756,000 fans from over 100 countries. They achieved a new Guinness World Record title for the most viewers for a music concert live stream due to that event.


Restaurants in Dubai not required to screen off dining areas during Ramadan

Restaurants in Dubai not required to screen off dining areas during Ramadan
Updated 12 April 2021

Restaurants in Dubai not required to screen off dining areas during Ramadan

Restaurants in Dubai not required to screen off dining areas during Ramadan

DUBAI: Restaurants in Dubai will not be required to screen off dining areas during the fasting hour of Ramadan, state news agency WAM reported.

Restaurants will be allowed to serve customers without putting in place curtains, dividers or facades as has been the mandatory practice previously, a circular issued by Dubai’s Department of Economic Development on Sunday said.

Restaurants will not be required to obtain a permit for serving food to customers during Ramadan fasting hours.