Growing up on the Angolan coast, Jisilda has always been attracted to the ocean – “The most wonderful part of nature,” as she calls it. That’s why, after graduating in 2015 from the City of Glasgow College with a degree in Nautical Science, Jisilda took to the seas. She worked for Angolan oil company Sonangol Shipping as a marine deck officer, sailing worldwide on oil tankers. In 2020, she joined Bureau Veritas as a Marine Surveyor, the first Angolan woman to hold this position.
However, working in the maritime sector – where women represent only 2% of the workforce – can sometimes be a lonely and difficult experience. Jisilda has frequently been the only woman onboard or onsite, surrounded by male colleagues, managers and clients. She has faced reactions from surprise to discomfort, and has had her work scrutinized and criticized by people who could not imagine a woman doing her job.
Marine & Offshore Surveyor / Business Developer
My presence is usually a bit of a shock – something unexpected that people need to adapt to. But I take heart in the thought that with persistence, hard work and support from maritime companies, women performing a role like mine will someday be the norm.
Nonetheless, Jisilda has found a comfortable home at Bureau Veritas, where she is cheered on by her male colleagues and encouraged in her work. She considers becoming Bureau Veritas Angola’s first female marine surveyor her greatest achievement so far. And as a business developer, Jisilda delights in finding herself at the table with decision-makers, guiding them and boosting the relationship between clients and Bureau Veritas Angola.
With her presence, Jisilda hopes to make it clear that women are welcome in the maritime industry. In the coming years, she hopes to see that 2% figure rise – and keep on rising.