In an interview with BBC, Marwa revealed that being a first female Captain she has faced fair share of sexism in her field but she was baffled to hear that she is being accused for the incident over baseless allegations.
Marwa Elselehdar, Egypt's first female captain has spoken up after she was wrongly blamed for last month's disastrous blockage on the Suez Canal. The woman explained that the huge skyscraper Ever Given became stuck she claims that she was wrongly accused on social media that the blockage occurred because of her.
Apparently, a number of Twitter accounts are responsible for spreading false news.
The 29-year old in an interview with BBC explained that she is still not sure why people spread this bizarre story on social media: "I felt that I might be targeted maybe because I'm a successful female in this field or because I'm Egyptian, but I'm not sure."
Marwa says that the bizarre accusations came despite the fact that she was working miles away from the Suez Canal and was in Alexandria as a first mate in command of the Aida IV.
She added that the rumors were initially spread via screenshots of fake news allegedly from Arab News that claimed that she is responsible for the incident.
Talking about her profession, Marwa revealed that she was inspired to follow her passion in naval career after her brother got admission at the Arab Academy for Science, Technology & Maritime Transport (AASTMT).
Even though the academy accepted only men at the time but she was accepted when her application was reviewed by Egypt's then-President Hosni Mubarak. However, the female naval explains that throughout her journey as a sailor she has faced constant sexism and discrimination from men in her field.
"Onboard, they were all older men with different mentalities, so it was difficult not to be able to find like-minded people to communicate with," she says. "It was challenging to go through this alone and be able to overcome it without affecting my mental health."
"People in our society still don't accept the idea of girls working in the sea away from their families for a long time," she adds. "But when you do what you love, it is not necessary for you to seek the approval of everyone."
Marwa became the youngest female captain to cross the Suez Canal when she captained the Aida IV as the first mate in 2015. President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi honored the 29-year-old during Egypt's Women's Day celebrations in 2017.
When the news of her being blamed for the incident made it to various social media platforms, Marwa feared that the false accusations might have implications on her career. However, with all the negativity and accusations many people came forward to support her against these baseless accusations too.
"The comments on the article were very negative and harsh but there were so many other supportive comments from ordinary people and people I work with," she says. "I decided to focus on all the support and love I'm getting, and my anger turned to gratefulness."
Marwa is now set to take her final exam in the coming months which will enable her to become a captain officially. "My message to females who want to be in the maritime field is fight for what you love and not let any negativity to affect you," she said.