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In honor of International Women’s Day, we highlight #PADIWomen around the globe who inspire all of us by working to save the ocean, broaden inclusivity in diving and instill hope for a brighter future. 

From leading ground-breaking marine science studies to making the ocean accessible to all, inspiring the next up and coming generation to take action, these PADI® Women share why they are hopeful for the future and how PADI Members can join in on creating a better tomorrow. 

Gador Muntaner: Leading the Way in Shark Science

Image courtesy of Rafa Fernandez

As a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor and Freediver, Gador uses her underwater skills and marine biology background to conduct important shark research and lead conservation efforts both in Spain and Mexico. 

“I think there are several factors that can give hope to the oceans: On the one hand, we currently have the great advantage of greater access to information, available to everyone, which is very positive. In addition, the new generations are being educated in the conservation of the environment and the ocean, and sustainability is in fashion! In addition, the community of divers continues to grow year after year, and thanks to the link with marine conservation that diving teachings have, every new diver can be a new ambassador for the oceans. It is everyone’s responsibility to take care of what we enjoy so much, and what keeps the planet in balance. 

My mission as a scientist, diver and communicator is to translate the most important messages of marine research into a language suitable for all audiences, and to show the beauties and weaknesses of the ocean, so that people can know them and want to protect them.”

Zandile Ndhlovu: Breaking Down Barriers

As South Africa’s 1st black PADI Freediving Instructor and the founder of The Black Mermaid, Zandile works to break down barriers of who can explore the ocean (hint: everyone!). Her goal is to show that South Africans of color can dream of a future in marine conservation and play an important role making the planet a better place. 

“Seeing the number of youth using their voices for Ocean protection tells me that things will be okay. It might not be immediate future, but it’s the continuous work towards this goal that will get us there. This belief is fueled by my work through The Black Mermaid Foundation, where we create access to local ocean facing communities to see beneath the surface of these vast waters, in hope that a seed is planted. If we are going to save our Oceans, we need all hands on deck, and this is an important part of how we get there.”

Julia Aveline Rabenjoro: Leading the Next Generation of Women 

At just 13 years old, Julia is both a PADI Junior Advanced Open Water Diver and Founder of Seed of Hope. With the support of various local PADI Dive Centers in Malaysia, she is working with them to run conservation programs that show you are never too young to local take action that makes a global impact. 

“ I have hope for the future of the ocean because I strongly believe that there are more and more people dedicated to conserving and protecting it, from all ages and all parts of the world. It is very inspiring and motivating to see that not only divers or people living next to the ocean are taking part, but a worldwide growing community understands how crucial the importance of the ocean and its inhabitants is. I am pretty new in the social media world but I see how powerful it can be to get people together no matter where they are to raise awareness, start a debate, share petitions….So either virtually or physically, together and individually, I believe we will eventually win this battle to save the ocean.”

Nouf Alosaimi: Being a Trailblazer for Female Professional Divers 

After discovering the beautiful underwater world on a holiday in Sharm El Sheik, Nouf Alosaimi quickly progressed from a PADI Open Water Diver to a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer. She has now devoted her life to inspiring more women to seek adventure beneath the surface. This year, Nouf is giving talks about her journey as a female diver and leading special dive trips to guests at the Stander Hotel in the Maldives for International Women’s Day. 

“In the beginning I called myself Red Sea Citizen because of the love I have for sea.  I am from Taif, Saudi Arabia, a mountain region far from the sea. Back in 2015, our country had little awareness of the role of oceans.  We were surrounded by water, but we were tuned in to the desert.  I started by talking about how wonderful sharks are to women who had little experience of the sea. Then I began advocating for the ocean world on social media as Red Sea Citizen.

As citizens we have to be ambassadors for our ocean world, a world that cannot speak for itself.  And here is the magic of ocean citizenship – no action, however small, is wasted.  When people watch you pick up even one piece of trash, you alter how they think.   What gives me hope is social media, where the action of one person can change the world.   And we have seen this in so many contexts, one person sets off a cycle of awareness and change.  And the smallest actions, if done by millions, are the most powerful in bringing about real, meaningful change. “

Nadia Azizabadi: Showing Others How to Face Their Fears 

When PADI Scuba Dive Instructor Nadia Azizabadi arrived in Tasmania from Iran, she did not even know how to go underwater in a swimming pool.  But at 36 years old, Nadia decided to overcome her fears and set out to learn to swim so she could join her Australian friends on an underwater adventure. She soon progressed to trying a PADI Discover Scuba Course and started a new career path where she became committed to being able to teach others how to dive. Now, she runs her own swim school and teaches other refugees and immigrants how to dive through her program From Zero to Hero. 

“I try my best to be a role model for non-divers and new divers. The main slogans from my ‘From Zero To Hero’ program are ‘be the hero of your yesterday’ and ‘be the change you want to see in the community’. By this, I mean that all changes start from us. If everyone can do can do their bit for society, we would have a happier and healthier community of people and therefore a healthier environment. I also regularly organize underwater clean ups and PADI AWARE Foundation activities to raise awareness for environment issues in my local area.

Share Your Hope Rising Stories with #PADIPeople

There is hope rising everywhere. PADI will continue to amplify stories like these with fellow PADI Members and divers to inspire, excite and accelerate recovery by demonstrating the spirit of #PADIPeople around the world. 

Share your own stories about how you are making a difference, and the better days that are possible right now through diving. Simply post descriptions, photos or videos to your social media channels, tagging PADI and #PADIPeople.


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