PADI Women’s Dive Day: interview with Nancy Abd El Wahab

 2016 PADI Women’s Dive Day is coming up!

With numerous events hosted around the world, the goal is to get as many women as possible, at every level, diving on the same day in order to build awareness and interest for the sport. While the focus is on women, all are encouraged to get involved. It’s a great opportunity to get the women, friends, and family members in your life together for a fun day of diving!

In anticipation of the event on 16th of July 2016, we are interviewing several women who are inspirational to divers and non-divers alike.

Find here below the second in a series of interviews with Nancy Abd El Wahab – PADI Course Director at Dahab Divers in Dahab, Egypt.

nancy1Why/How did you become a PADI Diver?

When I was a teenager I was a competitive swimmer and I loved watching documentaries about the ocean, such as ones from Hans Hass. Due to my fascination with the underwater world my parents gave me a diving course as a Christmas present at the beginning of the 1990’s. I remember it vividly; it was January and we went to a lake in Germany, the water was 4 degrees cold, there was no visibility and I was wearing a suit that was miles too big for me and broken gloves. Nevertheless, I absolutely loved it!

What does PADI mean to you?

PADI opened up the possibility for me to follow my dream to teach others to become divers and even to teach Scuba Diving Instructors. PADI has always supported my work and the educational system is just fantastic. For me PADI stands for education, adventure, conservation, empowerment and transformation.

nancy3What does it mean to you to be a female diver?

Personally, I would like to see more women at higher professional levels of diving. It is already happening in so many areas of diving, such as technical diving, recreational diving, freediving and hyperbaric medicine to name a few. Women are excelling in areas in diving that have previously been home ground to men. Thus, I am very proud of being a female diver, PADI Instructor and PADI Course Director. I hope that through the passion I have for diving and teaching diving I can inspire other woman.

What is your dream dive?

Definitely Sharks Reef at Ras Mohamed (Egypt), especially during the summer because of all the diversity, the unbelievable amount of fish and amazing colors you  can only see in the Red Sea.

nancy2Best moment in diving?

I had many great moments but by far the best moment was when I took my daughter, Samra, the first time diving when she was 8 year old for her Bubblemaker program. Now she is nearly 20, a TEC diver and she will start her PADI Instructor course with me this summer.

samra2What are your plans for WDD this year? As a PADI Instructor, do you have any suggestions for divers for PADI Women’s Dive Day 2016?

In Dahab I would like to get all my female PADI Instructors friends together to offer the PADI DSD for women only. I believe it is very inspiring and empowering for women to see other women working as Instructors and taking an important role in the diving industry. Since it is one of my life’s greatest pleasures to dive with my daughter I would like to encourage other female divers to take their daughters diving too on this special day.

What do you feel are the most important challenges and opportunities facing women in diving? 

I think, nowadays women are more accepted in the diving industry/world. When I first started diving in Germany women were definitely not given the opportunities that they are given today. However, I still see many countries where female divers are an exception because of cultures where it is not common that men and women participate in the same activities. I believe that we need to find ways to teach more female divers in these cultures and countries, who then can become Instructors. These women can go on and help encourage other women to dive.

nancy5How can we get more women in the water and involved in the dive community?

Throughout the years I have trained many women to become PADI Instructors and I am very proud to see them being passionate about their role as a teacher and that they inspire the next generation of female divers. I did the same with my daughter and she is part of the new generation of female divers. It makes me very proud seeing her and how her diving skills are growing. I think it is a great opportunity for us female professional divers to carry our passion to our daughters and other women who then will be able to carry this passion to more women in their environments, such as Universities or work places.

 Tips to women thinking about a career in diving?

Nothing against men, but the diving industry is a male dominated industry. Thus, women in this industry face more problems then men do. So one of my most important tips is to not get intimidated by the men in the industry. Also, know yourself and have self confidence in yourself and your capabilities because sometimes it might not seem this way. Furthermore, a very useful and great tip is to find a female mentor that can help you answer all your questions, someone you can look up to and that might understand the struggles you are going through. Another thing that was very beneficial to me when I started my diving career is to become friends with many professional female divers, not only in recreational diving but also in technical diving and freediving. This way, you have a group of friends who understand your new life. Moreover, one of the most important aspects of the diving industry (which applies to women as well as men) is networking. Try to do that as much as possible; it’s all about who you know. Finally, do your research about which diving center you want to go to. Check their reputation, sponsorship, internship opportunities, career options, instructors and ask people who have dived with them before. This is extremely important since your standard of education will depend on them.

Thanks Nancy ….and keep up the good work!

How to Participate
If you’re a diver who is interested in participating in a Women’s Dive Day event, please contact your local PADI Dive Center or Resort to see if it’s holding an event — and encourage it to get involved if it’s not already. Otherwise, you can find an event or get more information at padi.com/women-dive.

If you’re a PADI Professional interested in hosting a dive or event, contact your PADI Regional Manager!