Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Search and Rescue NGO Wants Help Understanding the Gender Balance in SAR

Calls for All Women and Men to Fill in Survey
Shipping News Feature

WORLDWIDE – The International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF) has launched a survey to try and understand the current gender balance in search and rescue (SAR) organisations around the world. The NGO is asking members of the industry, whether paid professionals or volunteers, national, regional or local, to provide details so they can better understand the issue.

There is currently no definitive study that assesses the level of representation of women in the SAR sector, or looks at the roles that they fill. As a result, the IMRF is asking both women and men working in SAR about their experiences, work and aspirations. Theresa Crossley, CEO of the IMRF, explained:

“Quite simply if we want to try and make sure there’s equality of opportunity across the sector, first we need to understand what the current status is, what the barriers are and where those opportunities may be.

“We are asking anyone who works in maritime search and rescue, and that could be front line operations or back office support, full or part time, volunteer or professional, male or female, to complete the survey. It only takes about five minutes, but the information will be incredibly useful in helping us to plan the next steps.”

There is a movement to get more women involved in SAR, an industry that has a traditionally male make up. In June 2019 IMRF launched their #WomenInSAR initiative, supported by a grant from Trinity House, a maritime charity and one of the UK’s statutory general lighthouse authorities. Captain Ian McNaught, Deputy Master of Trinity House said:

“Trinity House is a charity dedicated to safeguarding shipping and seafarers and we have been providing education, support and welfare to the seafaring community for more than 500 years. Men and women working in maritime search and rescue save the lives of those in trouble at sea, providing a vital service, in today’s world, it is only right that women should be equally represented across all roles and we are proud to support this initiative.”

The survey will provide information to inspire and encourage the next generation of women to consider a career in maritime SAR.

Photo: Image courtesy of IMRF.