Marwa Elselehdar, the first female ship captain of Egypt, gets trolls falsely accusing her of running the container ship Ever Given aground Suez Canal while she was working hours away in another ship in Alexandria. The anti-Feminist trolls came out, linking her to the disaster claiming it was the evidence of what would happen if women were allowed to captain ships.
"Frankly, when I read the news, I was upset, because I worked really hard to reach the position I have reached, and anyone who works in this field knows how much effort a person has made over the years to reach this rank," Elselehdar said in a video that she posted to her Instagram account. "One has to spend many years at sea, studying and taking exams before reaching this level."
A day before, the Arab News had published a story about Elselehdar profiling her groundbreaking career. The article was photoshopped with a change in the headline and was released on the internet. The headline claimed that she was involved in running Ever Given aground when she wasn't even there in the first place. Also, fake accounts were created on Twitter with her name and photo, which gathered 20000 followers in hours.
She later told the BBC that she was shocked and wasn't sure why she was being targeted, listing that it could be because she is a woman or an Egyptian.
Elselehdar, aged 29, was the first woman to enrol in the Arabic Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport after she received special permission from Hosni Mubarak, former president of Egypt. She told BBC how her male classmates couldn't wholly accept her being there. She began working for Egyptian Authority for Maritime Safety after she graduated. Later, she helped lead the celebratory procession when Egypt finished the Suez Canal expansion in 2015 and became the first woman to cross the canal as the captain of a ship.
Even today, women captaining a ship is a rare sight. According to International Maritime Association, only 2% of all seafarers are women, and most of them work on cruise ships.
(based on The Washington Post report)