There have been long-standing efforts to improve gender equality competence. IMO's program on the Integration of Women in the Maritime Sector (IWMS), for instance, has a primary objective to encourage IMO Member States to open the doors of their maritime institutes to enable women to train alongside men and so acquire the high-level of competence that the maritime industry demands. Moreover, the European Institute for Gender Equality has created the online Platform on Gender Mainstreaming to support the EU institutions and governmental bodies with the integration of a gender perspective in their work. The Platform provides insights on the relevance of gender in a variety of policy areas and offers online tools for gender mainstreaming.

What is the gender mainstreaming?

Formally featured in 1995 at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China, gender mainstreaming is a public policy concept of assessing the different implications for women and men of any planned policy action, including legislation and programs, in all areas and levels. Mainstreaming essentially offers a pluralistic approach that values the diversity among both men and women.In 1997 ECOSOC adopted agreed conclusions on mainstreaming a gender perspective into all policies and programmes in the United Nations system. Gender mainstreaming was clearly defined by ECOSOC:

Mainstreaming a gender perspective is the process of assessing the implications for women and men of any planned action, including legislation, policies or programmes in all areas and at all levels. It is a strategy for making women's as well as men's concerns and experiences an integral dimension of the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes in all political, economic and societal spheres so that women and men benefit equally, and inequality is not perpetuated. The ultimate goal is to achieve gender equality

Gender equality competence key elements

1.       Pledge commitment: First and foremost, organizations need to be devoted to gender equality and be responsible for the proper implementation of gender equality training within the organization.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

(Margaret Mead, cultural anthropologist, 1901-1978)

2.       Own methodological skills: Gender equality competence is an all-consuming method to identify and obtain the required gender-disaggregated data and put them to practical use. It is important though that instructors own methodological skills

3.       Specialize in gender mainstreaming: The theoretical understanding of gender as a social construct, together with the knowledge of gender relations as social structures comprise a specialist knowledge. Any practical experience of gender aspects within an organization’s policy area and activities is important as well.

How to build an effective competence development plan
Currently, there are no common guidelines for shipping organizations to lead them through the process of creating a targeted agenda for gender equality competence. However, a successful and effective gender competence should:

  • Define the purpose – gender equality -  and raise awareness within the organization
  • Develop the appropriate gender mainstreaming methods and tools; some examples include:
    1.       E-learning
    2.       Training
    3.       Certifications
    4.       Workshops
    5.       Facilitations
    6.       Coaching
  • Provide more customized training and professional development.
  • Use outside consultants to develop the framework for you
  • Maintain a gender information management system
  • Conduct quality assessments
  • Measure the effectiveness in implementing the competence
  • Synchronize competence development closely with the overall gender mainstreaming strategy

What makes gender equality competence well worth it?
Creating a gender competency plan is an effective method to assess, maintain, and monitor the knowledge, skills, and attributes of people with respect to gender equality in a shipping organization. The framework allows operators to measure current competency levels to make sure staff members have the expertise needed to add this value to the organization. Moreover, it could help managers make better decisions about recruitment, retention, and succession strategies.