Maritime Industry Urged To Prioritize Gender Equality

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  • The International Maritime Organization (IMO) Secretary-General, Arsenio Dominguez, has called on the maritime sector to take stronger measures in supporting gender equality and women’s empowerment.
  • In light of International Women’s Day on March 8, an event at IMO Headquarters in London, themed ‘Invest in women: Accelerate progress,’ focused on these crucial issues.

Mr. Dominguez emphasized the need for the maritime industry to lead by example and prioritize diversity, including gender equality. Citing a study by IMO and the Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association (WISTA), he highlighted that women constitute only 29% of the general maritime industry workforce and 20% of national maritime authority workforces. Shockingly, the number of female seafarers globally stands at a mere 2% of around two million seafarers.

Urgent Action and Collaboration

Addressing the need for improvement, Mr. Dominguez urged collective efforts from Member States, the industry, and all stakeholders to accelerate progress in achieving gender equality. He outlined actions taken by the IMO Secretariat, including the establishment of an internal Gender and Diversity Group, integrating gender into project delivery, and striving for gender parity among staff.

A significant step has been the appointment of a gender-balanced senior management team and a policy to refrain from participating in events unless there is adequate gender representation, setting an example for the broader maritime community.

Voices from Female Students and Panel Discussions

Female students pursuing maritime careers shared their aspirations for the future through video messages. Ms. Faith Maraga from the World Maritime University (WMU) stressed that investing in women is a strategic investment in the future. She expressed the need to break down barriers to leadership for more inclusive decision-making.

Ms. Mame Ndella Faye from the IMO International Maritime Law Institute (IMLI) emphasized the importance of women seeing themselves represented in visible positions within the industry.

A panel of leading maritime professionals further discussed challenges in the male-dominated industry and proposed solutions. Topics included changing mindsets at the board level, building supportive networks, enhancing mentorship programs, promoting education and training opportunities, and developing women’s skills and confidence.

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Source: IMO