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Port industry encouraging female employment in Costa Rica

Priscilla Villalobos never imagined that the door would be open for her to develop a role that involved moving containers weighing up to thirty tons, from a crane, up to 20 meters in the air.

During her five years’ work experience, Priscilla saw that this type of work was mostly carried out by men, but even so she decided to "take the plunge" and try to land a job she considered she could do perfectly well.

Villalobos is one of the port women celebrating during National Port Women’s Day in Cost Rica and wants to send a message to women so that they dare not only to dream, but also to start their own life projects.

Equal Opportunities

"I used to operate a crane on private property and when I heard about this opportunity at APM Terminals Moin, Cost Rica. I made the decision to try to get the job. Thank God they called me. As we celebrate National Port Women's Day in Costa Rica I want women to realise that we can also develop in these roles, that companies like APM Terminals provide these opportunities, and there are no limits other than the ones we set for ourselves," explained Villalobos.

"I used to practice driving a crane in my free time, such as evenings and Sundays. My life took a turn, and clearly handling cranes here at APM Terminals Moin is very different from the one I used to handle, but that interest helped me to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity," said Villalobos.

Villalobos is one of 345 port women working in this industry, according to a survey carried out by the National Commission of Port Women of Costa Rica, in 2022.

A total of 128 women participated in the survey, which showed that 24% of APM Terminals Moin’s workforce is female, INCOP 30%, JAPDEVA 7%, SPC 21% and MOPT 18%.

Highly Educated

In terms of education, 47% of these workers have a university degree, 20% have a bachelor's degree, 12% have a master's degree, 19% have a high school degree, and 2% have an elementary school degree. Thus, the women who work in the ports are women who have sought professional training.

"The workforce represented by female port workers stands out for being resilient, empowered, capable, and fighters. They are all leaders and have great courage. This industry provides opportunities for women to demonstrate their capabilities and the work they do is impactful to the industry. We urge more women to dare to develop their professional careers and trades in this industry that recognises their important work in the country's economy," said Lisbeth Thomas, Human Resources Director of APM Terminals Moin.

Costa Rica is the first country in Central America to commemorate the National Port Women's Day, which, according to Executive Decree No. 38682-MOPT-MCM, is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of September each year. Costa Rica also created the National Commission for the Support and Promotion of Women's Work in the Port Facilities of the Caribbean and Pacific Regions of Costa Rica.