Healthy oceans are key to conserving the health and wellbeing of our planet and important sources of livelihoods for billions around the world, including women.
Making up about half the workforce in processing, cleaning and trading fish, women accounted for only 19% of all people directly engaged in catching or harvesting of wild fish and in fish farming in 2018. According to the World Ocean Council (WOC), women in the fishery sector are largely concentrated in low-skilled, low-paid, seasonal jobs without health, safety and labor rights protections.
Women earn approximately 64 per cent of men’s wages for the same work in aquaculture, and face the risks of ocean degradation with less resource on hand to build resilience.
WOC further explains
Indeed, in many parts of the world, women’s contribution, both towards ocean-based livelihoods and conservation efforts are invisible. For that reason, through the Sustainable Ocean Summit, the World Ocean Council brings together the multi-sector Ocean Business Community to catalyze global leadership and collaboration in ocean sustainability and Corporate Ocean Responsibility.
5 Steps to increase women participation the ocean business community
As mentioned above the WOC provides responsible companies from the Ocean Business Community the ability to collectively address cross-cutting ocean sustainable development challenges and shape the future of the ocean by engaging and working with other ocean stakeholders. But what are the steps taken by the community? Here are some recommendations for the industry:
1.Transform organizational culture and embrace diversity
Organisations must widen their scope when it comes to diversity. Specifically, senior leaders and managers should use a new model within their organizations in order to examine and improve their individual commitment and approach to delivering on diversity. The scope should be to raise awareness of the biases that influence perceptions, judgement and behavior around leadership roles in the field of ocean development.
2. Call external diversity experts for guidance and support
Diversity expertise could be enhanced for example, by developing an in-house diversity centre of excellence within your organization and/or by organizing or participating in several related conferences.
3.Expand your network
It is common believed that men at the top already know men at the top. But, how about women at the top? Organisations need to expand their circles and reach out to women in national executive leadership organizations.
4.Support your juniors
There should be opportunities for both young and more senior women executives to be noticed. A good way to do so could be by help them appearing on conference panels and/or taking up more responsibilities.
5.Support your top women
Organisations should share the value of being a leader, help women become visible in the right circles, and promote their leaderships skills.
Why women leadership maters for Blue Economy
Blue Economy means the use of sea and the use of its resources for sustainable economic development. Subsequently, ocean sustainable development and Blue Economy are regarded as the decoupling of socio-economic activities; development from environmental degradation and optimizing the marine resources benefits.
Studies have shown that women have a great sense of responsibility and a greater ability to multi-task and sustainable development needs leaders that give a full 100% when they are committed. Women are perhaps more humble than men while multi-tasking all the time. Therefore, women taking up leadership roles within this field can help achieving long-term prosperity by a country or a region befitting the environment, especially the sea which is the basis of the Blue Economy.
Women leaders from across the maritime business sectors will convene at the 2018 Sustainable Ocean Summit (SOS) - Hong Kong, 14 - 16 November - in a discussion to advance women’s leadership in Corporate Ocean Responsibility.
“Bringing together such a knowledgeable and experienced group of women executives advances the conversation on sustainable development in the industry. This SOS panel represents WOC’s leadership, collaboration and action on sustainable development and I am honoured to serve as the panel chair on behalf of WISTA International. We look forward to expanding our interaction with WOC.” WISTA International President Theodosiou