Elizabeth Marami made history by becoming the first-ever female Kenyan Marine pilot, joining a club that had been dominated by men for a long time.
However, her rise to the top was not a smooth sail, rather, the journey posed numerous challenges.
Today, she is celebrated as an epitome of success in society, being a role model to many young women aspiring to achieve greatness and break gender barriers along the way.
Marami is a Second officer in command on board the merchant navy foreign going ships, a marine pilot at the Kenya Ports Authority.
Background and Education
She was born and raised in the coastal city of Mombasa, Kenya.
Marami first joined the University of Nairobi to study Law but opted to change course and went to Alexandria, Egypt where she pursued a Bachelor of Science degree in Nautical Science at the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport between 2009 and 2013.
She later enrolled at the University of Nairobi in 2016 and graduated in 2021 with a Masters degree in Business Administration, Operations Management.
The marine pilot also holds a certificate in Maritime simulator and maritime resource management from Hochschule Bremen, Germany.
Growing up, Marami always knew what she wanted to pursue in life, and despite getting an offer to pursue law, she easily settled on maritime studies.
"I didn’t want to be ordinary. I wanted to pursue something that would challenge me. So when I heard about a scholarship, I could not resist the temptation to apply. The scholarship would have me leave Kenya for Alexandria, Egypt to study navigation.
"The selection process was very competitive and I couldn’t believe it when I was awarded. I had another offer to study law at the University of Nairobi but my mind was set on navigation," she stated during an interview with She Leads Africa.
Between 2011 and 2012, Marami worked as a deck cadet at the AIDA IV Training Ship in Alexandria.
She later proceeded to join the Namma Shipping Lines between November 2012 and January 2013 also as a deck cadet.
Marami joined the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) in April 2014 and served at the capacity of a marine pilot apprentice through to February 2017.
After leaving KPA, Marami joined CMA CMG in October 2017 as a deck cadet and worked at the company for seven months prior to her departure in April 2018.
She would then join UK-based MSC Cruises in December 2018 where she worked as the third deck officer until February 2020.
Marami is currently the second officer in command aboard Celbrity Cruises Inc. ships, a company based in Miami Florida, USA.
Through the course of her career, Marami has had to endure multiple challenges to the top. At one point she almost gave up on her dream.
In 2015, Marami established Against the Tide Foundation, an organisation that champions for gender balance in the maritime industry.
Her initiative has since attracted international praise with foreign organisations such as UK Woman's Place recognising her revolutionary work.
"Unlike fellow male students she has struggled to become a captain and qualify as a full pilot, as many shipping companies are unwilling to employ women. She set up “Against The Tide” to advocate for equal opportunities in the industry," the UK organization tweeted on August 30, 2021.
"Against the Tide is my own initiative to see a reasonable gender balance in the maritime industry. Although in its infancy, I want to advocate for policies that favour both genders and allows for equal opportunities in access to opportunities in the industry.
"I also intend to mentor young girls into believing in themselves and having the courage to get into the profession. I have been speaking to students at various schools about the importance of believing in themselves," she told SLA.
Appointments & Endorsements
Marami is the National Coordinator for Women in Maritime in Africa (WIMA), Kenyan chapter.
In 2015, the history-making lady was named among The Business Daily’s Kenya Top 40 Under 40 Women.
Between 2015 and 2016, she was a brand ambassador with Proctor & Gamble in Kenya on the Always Sanitary Pad campaign “Stand Up and Keep Girls in School Campaign”, highlighting the plight of girls who have to miss school due to lack of sanitary pads.
Marami has met President Uhuru Kenyatta on two occasions and in both, the Head of State commended her for the brilliant career and example she has set for women in the country.