Tuesday, March 10, 2015

IMO Pushes the Case for More Women to Lead the Maritime Industry

Nature of the Working Environment Has Radically Changed - but More Education Needed
Shipping News Feature

WORLDWIDE – In the Spring of 2014 the International Maritime Organization (IMO) via the World Maritime University (WMU) held a conference in Malmö, Sweden ‘Maritime Women – Global Leadership’ to promote the role of women working in the marine environment. Now the IMO has released a video to support its view that more women should be appointed to senior positions in the industry.

Traditionally of course the sea, and the jobs associated with it, have been seen almost exclusively as a male preserve. This had much to do with the physical nature of the work, an element that still persists in many areas of a career on the waves. Principally today however the onus is much more on the use of technology which brings accessibility to women on an equal footing.

The conference overwhelmingly proved that action was needed to promote the role of women more effectively, with cultural barriers proving one of the most difficult areas to deal with. There is a need to make more women globally aware of the many opportunities which shipping can offer. This does not mean of course that maritime related employment means simply going to sea, there are equally as many, if not more, opportunities for women to become involved in the trade working ashore.

The IMO points out that to achieve parity at work, women must first be sure of having equal educational opportunities, currently the accessibility of secondary and higher education globally is heavily slanted toward men. The WMU has been active in enhancing its programmes in favour of women and has organised conferences, workshops and research projects dedicated to this end. To date 744 women from 93 countries have graduated from the WMU but it will need a seismic shift to ensure the policy is engaged equally in every traditional seafaring nation.