2019 has been proclaimed, by the International Maritime Organization to be the year of “Empowering women in the maritime”. Besides, the recent WMU Conference in Malmo, Sweden identified opportunities to encourage women to pursue careers in the maritime and ocean sectors, and called for action from maritime and other stakeholders in support of achieving the UN SDGs, in particular Goal 5 related to gender equality, as a cross-cutting theme.

Five ways to invest in women

#1 Adopt a new mindset

A new mindset is the first priority for an actual change. ‘’There are a lot of men that want the change too. We need to include the men in our conversations and work together to create the future of the maritime industry that we want,” Lena Göthberg, producer of Shipping Podcast, pinpointed during an exclusive interview with SAFETY4SEA.

#2 Help female role-models develop

There is also great need to showcase what women in shipping can do. In this context, more female role-models are needed. Sadly, there is a consensus that shipping companies are usually waiting for potential employees to approach them rather than approaching prominent people by themselves. By helping women out there stand out from the crowd of men, an organization further helps female role-models develop for the next generations to come and subsequently contributes in changing the profile that seafaring jobs have as of now.

#3 Learn from other countries, industries, companies

“We should not do diversity for diversity, but look upon how we can benefit from it,” Lena Göthberg adds. Here comes the answer to the question; why embracing gender diversity in shipping industry? There are several examples that our industry in general, and individual companies in particular, need to focus on.

A good example is Stena Line - among the largest ferry operators in the world- who in 2018 signed the Maritime UK’s “Women in Maritime pledge” committing to building an employment culture that actively supports and celebrates gender diversity, at all levels. The organization has further announced a diversity program to employ a minimum of 30% female leaders in three years of now, while currently they account for 19% and has further set a zero-vision in terms of harassment. What if each and every organization in shipping industry sets a goal that 20-50% of its recruits annually are females? What if each company sets a limit of its men recruits?

#4 Train your women around

In order to have women compete on a level playing field in the sphere of shipping, they need to have equal training opportunities as men onboard. Apart from training of the necessary technical skills onboard and regulatory update, important topics are the development of soft skills such as leadership skills (i.e. negotiations, communications, team management) and how to adapt to forthcoming maritime industry challenges.

#5 Spread meaningful data on digital media

Instead of sharing slogans or long-term visions of the organization, organizations need to start sharing concrete actions and results, such us figures of women that you occupy, accomplishments of their female employees and/ or rising trends within their organizations regarding female employees occupying a position or getting promoted in a new one. Another good tip is not sharing the future challenges in terms of diversity, but results from current challenges that overcome in present through the implementation of diversity policies.

View herebelow SAFETY4SEA exclusive interview with Lena Göthberg, producer of Shipping Podcast, discussing about opportunities to encourage women to pursue careers in the maritime industry.