Many were the events supporting women in shipping during 2019; What remains to be determined is how states and non-state actors will promote equality and inclusiveness for all women and girls who have an interest in oceans and the maritime sector.
The goal of 2019's maritime theme was to raise awareness of the opportunities that women could have in the shipping sector, attracting women to consider a career in maritime and highlighted the importance of increasing gender equality.
Canada, Georgia and Mexico have contributed in attracting more women in the maritime sector. Specifically, Canada's High Commissioner to the UK and Permanent Representative to the IMO, Janice Charette proposed the launch of a gender equality network at the IMO, which could be used as a forum to exchange information, ideas and best practices to help remove barriers and increase women’s participation in the maritime sector.
As Diplomat Magazine reported, the network will be useful for exchanging and promoting ideas for improving gender equality and empowering women in the maritime sector; and will engage men as full partners in the process.
After the event at Canada House, the IMO Ambassador of Georgia to the UK, Permanent Representative of Georgia and Vice President of the IMO Assembly (2018-19) Tamar Beruchashvili, hosted the second meeting of the IMO Gender Equality Network in July 2019 at the IMO Headquarters, in the presence of IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim and President of the Women’s International Shipping and Training Association (WISTA International) Despina Panayiotou Theodosiou.
Georgia's Ambassador commented that
Georgia takes the issue of gender equality in maritime affairs seriously, as we strongly believe that engagement of more women is absolutely vital for more integrity and strengthening economic efficiency within the industry.
During the event, Georgia proposed that the new IMO Network can be a results-oriented format of collaboration, and its first initiative would be elaborating the respective Resolution on promoting gender equality and empowering women in maritime affairs ahead of the IMO’s 31st Assembly.
Following the idea proposed above, Canada, Mexico and Georgia participated in the delegations from Ghana and Malta to work on the text of the IMO draft resolution on ‘Preserving the legacy of World Maritime Day 2019 and achieving a barrier-free working environment for women in the maritime sector’.
Mexico is a supporter of women in the shipping industry and recognises that the empowerment of women boosts economic opportunities, fosters development and sustained growth, and makes significant contributions to the international shipping sector.
Moreover, Ambassador Aureny Aguirre O. Sunza, Deputy Permanent Representative of Mexico to the IMO organized the network's third event in October during an open dialogue on "Building a Gender Equality Network in the Maritime Community" at the Embassy of Mexico in London, with a panel of five female Permanent and Alternate Representatives to IMO from Canada, Georgia, Ghana, Malta and Mexico.
The next event of the IMO Gender Equality Network will be hosted by Ambassador of the Republic of Korea, Permanent Representative at the IMO and First Vice President of the IMO Assembly 2020-2021 Enna Park on February 2020.
In addition, in September, Georgia will host its third biannual high-level conference – Georgia International Maritime Forum (GIMF2020) – in Batumi, with a special session dedicated to empowering women in maritime affairs.