By registering as speakers on the new Maritime Speakers Bureau platform, which was established by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association, women in maritime are encouraged to motivate, inform, and engage audiences (WISTA International).
Inclusive panels are the best method to accomplish this goal because IMO and WISTA International are dedicated to ensuring that sector conferences and events feature a diversity of ideas. To put an end to the custom of all-male speaking panels, frequently referred to as “manels,” the two groups have developed a new platform, a speaker bank for women in seafaring.
The IMO and WISTA International want to expand the presence of women speakers and support their voices in the maritime sector. The process of finding speakers will be made simpler, more diverse role models will be presented, and the justification “I cannot locate a female speaker” will no longer apply. Speakers and organisers can register and use it without cost.
On its website, the Maritime Speakers Bureau requests that users sign one or more of the pledges it has made for speakers, organisers, and sponsors. By signing, they pledge to draw attention to instances of a lack of diversity at events and do their part to make improvements so that diversity and inclusion are present at marine activities.
Despina Panayiotou Theodosiou, President of WISTA International, said:
“WISTA is an international organisation whose mission is to attract and support women, at the management level, in the maritime, trading and logistics sectors. It is our conviction that diversity is one of the key elements for a sustainable future for our industries. Creating this platform in collaboration with the IMO is a fantastic opportunity to help the wider maritime sector attract more diverse talent in an international industry. Women in our industry will be able to show their interest in participating in panels, becoming more visible and inspiring others. At the same time, event organisers will have the tools to make their panels more inclusive, diverse and interesting.”
Kitack Lim, Secretary-General of The International Maritime Organization (IMO) said:
“For speakers, this is your opportunity to share your knowledge and experiences in your field of expertise and contribute to helping the audience benefit from diverse thoughts.
This important initiative will support inclusive, diverse, richer panels from this free-to-use directory of industry speakers so that audiences can benefit from a range of perspectives that come from having diverse and inclusive viewpoints.”
The launch of the Maritime Speakers Bureau is another joint project under the IMO-WISTA Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on promoting greater diversity and inclusion through enhanced cooperation activities in the maritime sector. The MoU, signed in 2020, aims to set a framework for both IMO and WISTA to promote gender diversity and inclusion as vital factors in providing a sustainable future for the shipping industry worldwide.
Earlier this year, IMO and WISTA provided the results of the first, 2021, IMO-WISTA Women in Maritime survey. (Read more here)
How the Maritime speakers’ Bureau works
Once a speaker has registered, the conference and event organisers can email them with their requests through the Speakers Bureau online email system. It is completely up to the speakers whether or not they choose to talk. If they reject, they might suggest someone else in their place. The directory can be searched by industries, topics, and nations by conference organisers.
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