Pearl Seaways

Press Release


Date: 7 March 2019

In support of International Women's Day, leading ferry operator DFDS is celebrating the female members of its dedicated workforce. In an industry that historically employs more males than females, these women are proving that when it comes to a successful career in the maritime industry, gender simply doesn't come into it.

Sima Demir, Captain, BU Med says "I became a Captain for DFDS in 2014. When I initially graduated in 2007, many people in the industry thought my role was unsuitable for a woman.

"I'm currently DFDS' only female Captain but I simply don't believe that gender defines how successful you will be. Any woman considering entering a male-dominated industry should ignore any prejudices about gender - you just have to work hard and ensure the job gets done."

A sentiment echoed by Sünje Schmidt, Regional Sales Manager, Central & Eastern Europe, "It can feel like it's a man's world, however your gender doesn't define what you can or can't do".

In 2013, DFDS took concrete initiatives to attract more women to the business, with the aim to increase their female representation in their board from 27% to 40% by 2020.

The business has been working towards this through a number of initiatives including offering diversity training for managers and joining forces with a renowned college to do a Master Thesis on the current state of gender diversity in DFDS, to uncover the existing obstacles for female career development.

Gemma Griffin, Vice President HR & Crewing, looks after the HR, welfare, training, development and logistics of DFDS' staff, both on-board and ashore, in the UK and France: "Women bring a different perspective to men and I think it's genuinely recognized that having diversity in organisations – whether that be in terms of gender or any other characteristic – brings about a better culture, performance and therefore creates a more successful business."

"Traditionally the maritime industry has been a male dominated environment, but this is changing," says Gemma, "For example, in my 24-strong ashore team, 15 of these are women."

Marisa Corbo, Customer Support Supervisor, is part of the Operations Team based in Dover – Europe's busiest ferry Port. "It's a very fast paced environment which can certainly be challenging during peak periods," says Marisa. "While there are more males than females on shift, gender doesn't come in to the ability to deliver excellent customer service".

Charis Tracey, Lenka Frycova, Lauren Fox and Laura Charlton, members of the Dover Customer Experience Team, added "We are all equal at DFDS but International Women's Day is a great excuse to celebrate all our successes! We are all certainly GIRL BOSSES!"

From July this year, DFDS will be working with Folkestone School for Girls, to provide access and opportunities for more girls to have access to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) professions. To help achieve this, the company will be entering a work experience programme with the school.

For further press information, please contact:

Elsa Findlay / Charlotte Wright / Arabella Halfhide / Katie Raby Rooster PR T : +44 (0)20 3440 8930 E :


DFDS Press Office 01304 874052

About DFDS:

DFDS is Northern Europe’s largest integrated shipping and logistics company, with a network of around 30 routes and 50 freight and passenger ships.

DFDS prides itself on offering world-class facilities and services and the widest choice of ferry routes into northern Europe.

In the UK, the company operates passenger ferry services on routes from Dover to Calais, Dover to Dunkirk, Newcastle to Amsterdam and Newhaven to Dieppe.

DFDS has been named ‘Europe’s Leading Ferry Operator’ for eight years running (2012-2019), as well as the ‘World’s Leading Ferry Operator’ for the last seven years (2011-18).

DFDS currently operates up to 54 sailings a day between Dover and France on its Dover-Dunkirk and Dover-Calais routes. DFDS also offers two daily sailings between Newcastle and Amsterdam. In addition, the DFDS network includes a passenger and freight service between Newhaven to Dieppe, which has four daily sailings and is operated by Transmanche Ferries.

For further information about DFDS, or to find out about the latest sailing times, fares and offers across all routes from the UK, click here.

Nominee for Europes Leading Ferry Operator 2023

Behind Every Journey

We are proud to have been nominated as Europe’s Leading Ferry Operator 2023 by the World Travel Awards.  

This year, we’re taking a moment to celebrate and recognise the reasons why we continue to get nominated – and win this award – year after year… the amazing people behind every journey.