IMO celebrates IWD, promotes gender equality
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) last Monday celebrated the role of women in maritime on International Women’s Day (IWD) 2021 and highlighted pathways to a more inclusive future with the launch of #MyMaritimeMentor online campaign.
In a statement issued on IWD, the IMO welcomed this year’s United Nations theme for International Women’s Day 2021 of ‘Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.’
IMO Secretary General Kitack Lim said: “International Women’s Day is the perfect opportunity for everyone in the maritime sector to ask: ‘Are we doing enough to make our industry more diverse?’
The secretary general continued: “We have seen time and again that having women in all roles, particularly in leadership, creates a more prosperous and dynamic workforce. Moving forward, we must embrace these principles to ensure a sustainable recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to shape a fairer future for all.”
The IMO message aligns with the various activities undertaken by IMO over the years to make the maritime sector more gender-inclusive and to enhance the contribution of women as key maritime stakeholders. As part of IMO’s remit to meet the Sustainable Development Goal for gender equality (SDG 5) under the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the organisation has been taking tangible steps to make maritime more inclusive, including the Women in Maritime Programme, 2019 World Maritime theme, and more.
Kitack Limalso stated: “It is vital that the maritime sector shows support for the many talented women in our industry. We take this support seriously and at IMO we launched our ‘my maritime mentor’ online campaign to celebrate International Women’s Day, and to highlight the 2021 World Maritime Theme ‘Seafarers: At the core of shipping’s future’”.
The IMO is encouraging those who have benefited from mentorship to recognise the support and to share their stories about their inspiring mentors in the maritime industry who have helped them shine brighter.
The organisation is currently working with Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association (WISTA) to gather data for the first ‘Women in Maritime’ survey, to assess the participation of women in the maritime sector. The results of this survey will create a baseline for the industry to measure effort and track progress. In this effort, the IMO general secretary said: “look forward to working with each and every one of you to continue on the path to making maritime more inclusive.”
The IMO has focused its diversity efforts via its gender and capacity-building programme, which is now in its 33rd year. The Women in Maritime gender programme supports women in both shore-based and seagoing roles. This programme spearheaded activities around the IMO’s 2019 World Maritime theme, ‘Empowering Women in the Maritime Community’.
The programme has supported the creation of a number of regional associations for women in the maritime sector across Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America, Arab states and the Pacific Islands. Women from developing countries are also being given support to move into leadership roles via sponsorships to the Maritime SheEO leadership accelerator programme.
To increase visibility of women in maritime, IMO has produced a video showing how the Women in Maritime Programme is helping to support gender diversity. It has also made available a photo bank of images of women in maritime from submitted content. The use of these real-life photos in news stories, social media posts and brochures is vital to more diverse representation in the maritime world.
IMO member states, NGOs and the maritime industry are encouraged to participate in the inaugural IMO and WISTA International Survey 2021 to help gather data about women in the maritime and ocean fields for an accurate baseline that can be used to allocate resources and measure progress.