From a single woman trying to conquer the world, to a working mum shaping the coming generation, I have been working at Maersk for 9 years.

When I first joined Maersk in the intermodal department in 2015, I was a single 25-year-old woman with 3 years of previous experience at a local company and was very career-oriented. My focus was solely on growing and progressing in my career.

I vividly remember my first phone call to a difficult customer. I was shocked when the customer asked “Why are you talking to me?” I felt small and embarrassed, trying to do my job. It took me a moment to understand the underlying message. I quickly recovered, explaining it was my job, but unfortunately the customer responded with, "Don't call me to check if I received your email or not; you should know on your own." I took a deep breath, counted to 10, and wrapped up the call.

It was an eye-opener, revealing the extra effort women often must put in to succeed. This marked a milestone in my journey, and I vowed to overcome such stereotypes. I was on a mission to challenge notions that women can only do certain jobs, or that we live in a “man’s world.”

After the initial shock, I started strategizing. I realized this mindset had always existed, but it was often subtle. Engaging with colleagues, friends, and family, I sought insights, learning from their experiences and perspectives. The support I received internally and externally empowered me. My second call to the customer wasn't easy, but with each supportive interaction, I grew more empowered. Eventually, the customer began requesting me specifically for any work in the company.

Embracing motherhood and a career

Two years after joining Maersk, I met my significant other, got married, and entered a new phase of life. Priorities shifted slightly as I balanced personal and work life. A year later, I happily learned I was expecting a child, starting a new, scary journey.

Childbirth was challenging and having a brand-new human exclusively dependent on me as the nurturer was a profound experience. The sisterhood, the experience-sharing, and lifehacks from other women were invaluable to my process of learning how to do motherhood. Despite reaching breaking points, I learned the importance of asking for help and taking breaks. Without the village of women around me, including sisters, mothers, and colleagues, surviving as a new mum would have been impossible.

Finding balance and support

Returning to work brought new challenges. The struggle between career, maternal instincts, and new motherhood intensified. Inner conflicts about being a "bad mum" or leaving my baby with strangers, returning to work, and wanting to fulfill my own potential haunted me. My village of successful mothers provided insights—I learned that being a mother means nurturing others, but also ourselves. I learned that as women, we owe it to ourselves to decide without bias if we want to continue as working mums or stay at home, as both are extremely critical jobs.

Returning to work, my emotions fluctuated. My manager's patience and understanding eased my transition. Now, Yasmin is 4 years old, and I still seek guidance from amazing women in my network. As I received support, I now pay it forward, offering assistance to any woman needing help.

Empowering women in the workplace

Nine years later, being a working mum has changed me personally and professionally. I am more patient, understanding, and focused on the bigger picture. Reflecting on my journey, I'm proud of the woman I've become. Through hard work and advocacy for gender neutrality, equality, and fair chances, the percentage of women in Maersk in my country has significantly increased. Women are now given the choice and opportunity to make their mark in society.

I proudly see and celebrate female colleagues worldwide getting leadership positions more freely and justly. Maersk played a crucial role in changing the narrative. With internal support, we were empowered to be market and society leaders. Women are now a force to reckon with, embodying the old Jordanian proverb: "No matter where you throw us, we land standing."

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